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About Fastershire

About Us

Fastershire is a partnership between Gloucestershire County Council and Herefordshire Council to bring faster broadband to the two counties, with funding from central government’s Broadband Delivery UK matched by the local authorities.

  • Phase 1 of the project, in partnership with BT, will see around 90% of Gloucestershire and Herefordshire having access to fibre broadband, with all premises in the project area being able to access a minimum of 2Mbps.
  • Phase 2 of the project will extend fibre coverage further across the county. The Cotswolds is the first area to move into phase 2, with a contract awarded to Gigaclear which will make ultrafast speeds available to over 6,500 of the most difficult to reach rural homes and businesses.

The ultimate aim is that by 2018 there will be access to fast broadband for all who need it. More information on the rollout can be found in our broadband strategy, please click here.

Fastershire is not just about technology. The project also includes social and digital inclusion activities, and an extensive 'Business Support' programme, designed to help small and medium size businesses get the most from fibre broadband and be more competitive. In fact, it is expected that Fastershire will help to boost the local economy by £420m over the next ten years.

Fastershire will revolutionise the way that people of all ages across Herefordshire and Gloucestershire work, learn and play, and will benefit generations to come.

The Rollout

Phase 2 of the Fastershire rollout of faster broadband across Herefordshire and Gloucestershire will be based around four areas (area 1, 2, 3(A-E) & 4) and will comprise of premises that were not covered by Phase 1 or commercial rollout.

Each area will go through its own consultation and procurement process to secure a supplier to carry out the deployment.

Updates for each area can be found below:


Rollout map

Phase 2 Areas

All information, including forecast dates, is indicative only. Forecast dates may move forwards as well as backwards.


  • Area 1: The Cotswolds, comprising premises in milestone area 5 not covered by Phase 1 or commercial rollout
  • Area 2: The Forest of Dean, comprising premises in milestone area 2 not covered by Phase 1 or commercial rollout
  • Area 3A: Cheltenham and Gloucester not covered by Phase 1 or commercial rollout
  • Area 3B: Hereford not covered by Phase 1 or commercial rollout
  • Area 3C: South Herefordshire and Gloucestershire (west of the Severn) not covered by Phase 1 or commercial rollout
  • Area 3D: North Gloucestershire not covered by Phase 1 or commercial rollout
  • Area 3E: South Gloucestershire not covered by Phase 1 or commercial rollout
  • Area 4: Comprising premises remaining in north Herefordshire milestone area’s not covered by phase 1 or commercial rollout

Area 1: Cotswolds

Gigaclear was awarded the contract to deliver phase 2 in the Cotswolds in summer 2015. The first digging for our delivery of ultrafast Fibre-to-the-Premises to parts of the Cotswolds began in October 2015.

Delivery in the Cotswolds is well underway and to date Gigaclear are half way towards the target of 6,500 premises and is expected to complete by summer 2017

Look out for postcards to all addresses which will benefit from this phase of the project. You can also use the Gigaclear line checker to see if your premise is part of this rollout, please click here.

Covers areas of Andoversford, Bibury, Bourton On The Water, Cirencester, Coberley, Coln St.Aldwyn, Cricklade, Fairford, Fossebridge, Guiting Power, Kemble, Kempsford, Lechlade, Miserden, North Cerney, Northleach, Poulton, South Cerney, Southrop, Stow-On-The-Wold, Windrush and Withington not upgraded to faster broadband in Phase 1.

Please note: If you are not part of this rollout in the Cotswolds, and you did not benefit from Phase 1 or commercial rollout then your address will be considered as part of the Phase 2 rollout across the rest of the county. More details about future plans are available on our Strategy page.

Please note: The phasing and sequence of this rollout is subject to change, and this schedule will be updated to reflect any alterations.

Area 2: Forest of Dean

We have awarded a contract to Gigaclear to deliver the phase 2 rollout in parts of the Forest of Dean in Gloucestershire and the Golden Valley in Herefordshire not upgraded to faster broadband in Phase 1.
 
Deployment is expected to start in July 2017.

Area 3(A-E) & 4: The rest of the Gloucestershire and Herefordshire

Area 3A-B (Cheltenham and Gloucester) and area 3B (Hereford)
 
The procurement process for these areas has closed and we hope to award the contact shortly. 
 
We will publish details of the deployment when the contact has been signed.   
 
Area 3(C-E) & 4: The rest of the Gloucestershire and Herefordshire
 
We have awarded a contract to Gigaclear to deliver the phase two rollout in these areas not upgraded to faster broadband in Phase 1. 
  • Area 3C (South Herefordshire) - July 2017
  • Area 3D (North Gloucestershire) - September 2017
  • Area 3E (South Gloucestershire) - June 2018
  • Area 4 (North Herefordshire) - TBC 
To find out if your property is included in this next phase of rollout please use our address checker at the top of the page.
 

Fastershire Strategy

Phase one of the rollout aimed to provide faster broadband for the majority of homes and businesses across Gloucestershire and Herefordshire by the end of 2016. Additionally, every home and business in the eligible area will have access to the government's Universal Service Commitment of a minimum of 2Mbps.

However, we want to bring faster broadband to more homes and businesses across the two counties. As we gain a clearer picture of what will and will not be achieved by the current contract, and with new funding opportunities now becoming available, we can start to plan how we will reach those homes and businesses which will not experience an uplift in speed as a result of either commercial investment or through the current contract.

Superfast Extension Programme

Herefordshire and Gloucestershire have been provisionally allocated £10.98m additional funding from Central Government to be matched by both authorities. This fund will run from 2015 and aims to achieve 95% fibre coverage nationally.

Alternative Funding

There will be European Regional Development funding available from the next EU programme. Also the Department for the Environment, Food & Rural Affairs have announced that the new European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development programme 2013-20 can support NGA Broadband projects in the final 5%.

The revised Fastershire broadband strategy (December 2015) outlines how these funds will be used to meet the project’s ambition, that everyone in Herefordshire and Gloucestershire will be able to access the broadband services they need by the end of 2018.

The new strategy reflects the changes in technology that are more suited to deploying fibre in rural and hard to reach areas, new providers entering the market as potential suppliers and funding opportunities.

Future stages of the project will focus on the areas that have not been reached and are yet to benefit from fibre broadband. These geographic areas will be broken into five individual lots that will enable us to procure new solutions within these areas.

To read more about the plans please download the full strategy, please click here.

Better Broadband Scheme

The Better Broadband Scheme has been developed by the UK government and aims to provide access to a basic broadband service that will offer speeds of at least 2Mbps.

The scheme will provide an eligible household and business with a unique ordering code that will cover most of the installation cost of a basic broadband service. 

This is available to residents and businesses in Cheltenham, Gloucester and Hereford as well as the rest of Herefordshire and Gloucestershire.

Eligibility criteria

Households and businesses can take advantage of the scheme if they meet the following three criteria.

  1. Your current broadband download capacity is below 2Mbps.
  2. There are no alternative affordable broadband services available to you which would provide a download speed of at least 2Mbps.
  3. There are no plans to provide superfast broadband to your location
If you think you would benefit from a better broadband connection, you can start the process now by following the process and registering below.

How to apply
  • Review the providers and their products, click here
  • Start the process by registering below 
  • If you are eligible, you will be sent a unique order code
  • Using the order code, place an order with your chosen provider
  • Your chosen provider will arrange installation and will claim the installation cost from Fastershire
  • And you’re ready to go!

Click here to Register >

Click here for a list of Providers >

Events

22 Aug 2017
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IT Drop-in Sessions

Herefordshire Housing's, The Learning Box, offer free IT drop-in sessions.

Monday to Friday
9am to 4.30pm

 

Location: Herefordshire Housing Ltd, The Learning Box, Brierley Court, Hereford, HR1 2JA

Date: Monday 27th March 2017 ~ Friday 15th December 2017

Time: 09:00-16:00

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25 Aug 2017
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Photo Editing Essentials - Photoshop Elements

In this FREE Faster Business workshop, Frances Davison, will focus on editing using Photoshop Elements and will introduce some main free image editing software.

 

Location: Hereford Business Solutions Centre, Skylon Court, Coldnose Road, HR2 6JS

Date: Friday 25th August 2017

Time: 12:00-14:00

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14 Sep 2017
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Video & Photography Essentials

Create better visual content and help generate more traffic to your website, create a buzz around your brand and build your social media presence.

This FREE workshop from Faster Business will help you take better photographs and produce engaging video content, even if you’re a small business with a smartphone there’s a way to make video and photography work for you.

 

Location: Civic Suite (3rd floor), Regus Building, North Warehouse,The Docks, Gloucester, GL1 2EP

Date: Thursday 14th September 2017

Time: 12:00-14:30

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29 Sep 2017
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Get Found Online - Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) Essentials

In this FREE workshop from Faster Business our advisor, Ben Kinnaird, will share with you some of the tools and techniques that will help you improve your search engine rankings so you have a best chance of being on the first page of Google.

 

Location: Hereford Business Solutions Centre, Skylon Court, Coldnose Road, HR2 6JS

Date: Friday 29th September 2017

Time: 12:00-14:00

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13 Oct 2017
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Online Tools & Training

This workshop will profile the online tools and training that can help you improve your website, how you manage your social media accounts as well as learn about the 100’s of tutorials and tips for pretty much anything IT related.

 

Location: Civic Suite (3rd floor), Regus Building, North Warehouse,The Docks, Gloucester, GL1 2EP

Date: Friday 13th October 2017

Time: 12:00-14:30

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17 Nov 2017
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Office 365 Essentials

Learn how to maximise Microsoft Office 365 for your business. Whether you’re just starting or looking to improve your skills, our FREE Faster Business training will help you.

 

Location: Meeting Room 1 (3rd floor), Regus Building, North Warehouse,The Docks, Gloucester, GL1 2EP

Date: Friday 17th November 2017

Time: 12:00-14:30

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24 Nov 2017
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Online Advertising Essentials

In this FREE workshop from Faster Business our advisor, Ben Kinnaird, will share with you advice for deciding where and when to advertise, creating interesting adverts and tips for convincing people to click through to your website.

 

Location: Hereford Business Solutions Centre, Skylon Court, Coldnose Road, HR2 6JS

Date: Friday 24th November 2017

Time: 12:00-14:00

More

Latest News

First communities for next phase of faster broadband rollout in Gloucestershire announced

13th June, 2017
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Elmstone Hardwicke, Stoke Orchard, Deerhurst, Portway and Brookthorpe have been announced as the first communities in Gloucestershire that will benefit from the next phase of faster broadband rollout being delivered by Gigaclear through the Fastershire project.
 
Gigaclear specialises in connecting rural communities by installing its pure fibre network straight into the property which offers a future-proof solution and broadband speeds of up to 1000Mbps. This enables some of the hardest to reach homes and businesses across the county to have access to ultrafast broadband.  Gigaclear  has already enabled around 5000 additional homes and business in the Cotswolds under a separate contract awarded to them last year by the Fastershire project, and once completed later this summer this will see ultrafast fibre broadband made available to over 6,500 premises deep in the Cotswolds.
 
Phase 1 of the project, delivered by BT, has already seen over 78,000 homes and businesses in the county able to access superfast broadband speeds of 30Mbps or more. This next phase of rollout will see ultrafast broadband being installed in areas that did not benefit from phase 1.
 
Gloucestershire County Councillor Lynden Stowe, Cabinet Member for Economy, Skills and Growth, said “Faster broadband is vital for our communities and businesses to thrive and grow. I’m delighted that the Fastershire project, in partnership with Gigaclear, will be taking faster broadband to even more homes and businesses in some of the most rural areas of the county where larger suppliers were not prepared to go without public investment.”
 
Joe Frost, Business Development Director at Gigaclear said: “We are delighted to be providing a futureproof network to local people, which will improve the quality of their lives for work, entertainment, communications and play!  Thousands of properties in the Cotswolds have already been connected to our ultrafast broadband service on time and in budget thanks to the Fastershire project.  We are delighted to be continuing our partnership with Gloucestershire County Council through Phase 2 and look forward to welcoming these new communities to our network.  There is no doubt that this will continue to be socially and economically transformative for these rural areas.”
 
Over 35,000 homes and businesses across the county are expected to benefit from this next phase which is due to start later in the summer. Information is available on which premises are included in this next phase of rollout through the address checker at the top of the page.  
 

Industry Consultations

Herefordshire Council and Gloucestershire County Council have recently launched the Fastershire Broadband Strategy 2015-18 outlining how the project aims to achieve the vision that…

“By the end of 2018 everyone in Herefordshire and Gloucestershire will be able to access the broadband services they need”.

The strategy includes a number of stages (namely stages 3.1 to 3.5) which will be delivered through a series of brand new procurement exercises.

Each stage will be preceded by an Open Market Review (OMR) and state aid Public Consultation to establish the location of existing and planned (next 3 years) commercial coverage of broadband services across the potential intervention areas by all existing and any prospective, superfast broadband infrastructure providers.

Stage 3.1

Following an Open procurement process, Gigaclear were contracted to deliver Lot 1 in June 2015.

The Public Consultation on Lot 1 ‘The Cotswolds’ formally closed on 31 January 2015. As no responses were received, the intervention area for Lot 1 remained unchanged.

Stage 3.2

The public consultation for Lot 2 closed on 17th June. No representations were received that affected the Lot 2 area and therefore the Intended Intervention Area became the eligible area of the Lot 2 ITT which was released on Monday 8 August 2016 and will close to submissions on Friday 30 September.

Stage 3.3 & 3.4

The Public Consultation on the Intended Intervention Area for Lots 3 and 4 of Stage 3 of the Fastershire Broadband Strategy 2015-18 closed on September 28th 2016.  A number of responses were received from private sector providers and as a result the total Eligible Intervention Area for Lots 3 and 4 is 48,569.

Following this refinement, the Actual Intervention Areas for Lots 3a, 3b, 3c, 3d, 3e and 4 have been locked down and are identified in the Deployment Plans of each Lot which can be accessed in the Fastershire Broadband Strategy 2015-18 Stage 3 Lot 3 and 4 opportunity document library on the Supplying the Southwest tender portal www.supplyingthesouthwest.org.uk.

Please note that the cumulative number of premises in the Actual Intervention Areas for Lots 3a, 3b, 3c, 3d, 3e and 4 totals 47,603 and that not all eligible premises have been included in the 6 Lots.

 

Stage 3.5

TBC

Stage 4

Looking towards Stage 4 of the Fastershire Broadband Strategy 2015-18, Fastershire is working with its partners Connecting Shropshire and Superfast Telford to secure European Funding to provide subsidies direct to SMEs across the Marches and Gloucestershire who may not benefit from the earlier stages of the Strategy to enable them to access faster broadband services.

Suppliers were invited to a joint supplier engagement briefing in Shrewsbury on March 4th 2016.

To access the slide pack from the event click here. For the avoidance of doubt, this event was not the commencement of any formal procurement process and the partner Councils are not committed to carrying out such a process.

Faster Schools

As young people now grow up using laptops, tablets and smartphones as if they were second nature, we would like to help them share their skills by teaching a family member how to use the internet.

Fastershire can run competitions with schools across Herefordshire and Gloucestershire to encourage students to teach a member of their family the basics of using the internet. At the end of the teaching, the student and the person being taught will be asked to write about the experience and what they've got out of it, and the student will submit this as an entry to the competition.

You can download PDFs of our training guides to use in training sessions or for your own learning...

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Faster broadband is being rolled out across Herefordshire and Gloucestershire between now and the end of 2018. It is not possible to flick a switch to make every area go live on the same day, so some areas will go live before this. Register your interest today and we will keep you in the loop about developments in your fibre broadband status.