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About Fastershire

About Us

Fastershire is a partnership between Herefordshire Council and Gloucestershire County Council to bring faster broadband to the two counties, with funding from central government’s Broadband Delivery UK matched by the local authorities. The ultimate aim is that by the end of 2019/20 there will be access to fast broadband for all who need it.

However, Fastershire is not only about technology, the project also includes social and digital inclusion activities, and an extensive business support programme, FasterBusiness. The programme is 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 went through its own consultation and procurement process to secure a supplier to carry out the deployment.


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
  • Area 2: The Forest of Dean
  • Area 3A: Cheltenham and Gloucester
  • Area 3B: Hereford
  • Area 3C: South Herefordshire and Gloucestershire (west of the Severn)
  • Area 3D: North Gloucestershire
  • Area 3E: South Gloucestershire
  • Area 4: North Herefordshire

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 and is now complete. 

The rollout covered 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.

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.
 

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

Area 3A-B (Cheltenham and Gloucester) and area 3B (Hereford)
 
We have awarded a contract to BT Group to deliver the phase two rollout in these areas not upgraded to faster broadband. 
 
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)
  • Area 3D (North Gloucestershire)
  • Area 3E (South Gloucestershire)
  • Area 4 (North Herefordshire)
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 1 of the Fastershire strategy has provided approximately 90% of the homes and businesses across Herefordshire and Gloucestershire with access to superfast broadband and speeds of 30Mbps or above.

Over the next two years, phase 2 of the project’s strategy will increase total superfast coverage to around 98%, as phase 2 seeks to provide faster broadband to premises that were not covered by Phase 1 or commercial rollout.

 

Phase 2, Stage 3 – Hereford, Gloucestershire and Cheltenham

Stage 3 of the Fastershire rollout sees BT continuing to deliver in Hereford, Gloucestershire and Cheltenham and build on their commercial deployment.

Phase 2, Stage 3 - Rural Herefordshire and Gloucestershire

Gigaclear has been awarded the Fastershire delivery contract for rural areas of the county.

Gigaclear is a wholesale network provider and internet service provider (ISP) who specialise in connecting rural communities by installing its pure fibre network straight into the property.

Pure fibre, also known as Fibre to the Premise (FTTP) offers a more future-proof solution and broadband speeds of up to 1000Mbps. This technology is not affected by how far your home is from the network cabinet and the connection is symmetric so you get the same upload and download speeds.

Phase 2, Stage 4

For the remaining, hardest to reach properties, Fastershire is using a mix of solutions, including a bespoke grants and contract extensions.

Business Grant

Fastershire, in partnership with Connecting Shropshire and Superfast Telford and part funded by the European Regional Development Fund, have designed the Marches and Gloucestershire Broadband Grant. 

The grant provides up to 100% of the capital installation cost for an eligible SME that not be included in Fastershire’s main rollout and that can demonstrate the economic return.

Viable Clusters

Fastershire has been awarded funding from the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) and has identified a number of significant property clusters that could benefit from this funding.

The procurement process will be completed very soon, with contracts awarded in the summer of 2018 and rollout work following.

Contract Extensions

For the remaining properties, Fastershire will be exploring possible contract extensions with BT and Gigaclear to provide access to faster broadband.

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

 

Events

20 Nov 2018
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How to use your tablet computer (Kington Library)

Learn the basics of how to use a tablet, from learning about apps, picking up emails, using the internet and how to connect to our library wi-fi.

 

Location: Kington Library, 64 Bridge Street, Kington, HR5 3DJ

Date: Tuesday 20th November 2018

Time: 10:00-12:00

More
20 Nov 2018
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How to use your tablet computer (Ledbury Library)

Learn the basics of how to use a tablet, from learning about apps, picking up emails, using the internet and how to connect to our library wi-fi.

 

Location: Ledbury Library, The Master's House, Bye Street, Ledbury, HR8 1EA

Date: Tuesday 20th November 2018

Time: 16:00-18:00

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27 Nov 2018
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How to use your tablet computer (Ross-on-Wye Library)

Learn the basics of how to use a tablet, from learning about apps, picking up emails, using the internet and how to connect to our library wi-fi.

 

Location: Ross-on-Wye Library, 7 Cantilupe Road, Ross-on-Wye, HR9 7AN

Date: Tuesday 27th November 2018

Time: 17:00-19:00

More
28 Nov 2018
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Using mobile technology in the “field”

The potential to make efficiencies and improve communications through the use of mobile technology can be significant. Improvements in performance, monitoring and day to day work routines are possible - attend the FasterFarmer's free workshop to learn how farming can harness mobile technology.

 

Location: Bishops Frome Village Hall, Bishops Frome, WR6 5AR

Date: Wednesday 28th November 2018

Time: 13:00-16:00

More

Latest News

Stage 3 Gigaclear Build Update

17th October, 2018
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In 2017 Fastershire awarded a number of Stage 3 contracts to Gigaclear to provide properties across rural parts of Herefordshire and Gloucestershire much needed access to faster broadband.

When complete, this network will transform broadband access, making the two counties some of the best connected areas in the UK, however, the scale of the rollout is vast and will see Gigaclear lay approximately 7,000,000m of fibre optic cable.  

In Herefordshire, Gigaclear had no existing network footprint and as a result Gigaclear has needed to install the vital backhaul links before work in the county could begin. The stage 3 build is now well under way and currently nine community networks are under construction with over 1000 individual connection pots installed.

Gigaclear’s network in Gloucestershire is more mature, owing to the lot 1 contract for the Cotswolds that was awarded in 2015. The Cotswolds build is now complete bar some minor works and of the new lots awarded in 2017, currently 25 community networks are under construction and five community networks now complete.

The new network is completely buried and therefore Gigaclear’s plans are susceptible to delays as wayleaves are sought, negotiated and occasionally withheld and as detailed designs get refined to account for conditions on the ground.  As a result the deployment programme is very dynamic and while build may progress quicker than expected in some communities, others may experience unexpected delays.

Fastershire is aware that a number of the start dates anticipated for certain communities have been missed and we understand the frustrations this has caused not least in terms of the accuracy and timeliness of information on the Fastershire website. The project is working on improvements to the build reporting process and the Fastershire website that will enable the project to more accurately reflect the deployment dates and provide more progress updates at the local level.

In light of this, Fastershire has requested that Gigaclear produce a new deployment plan.  The project expects to receive the new deployment plan in November and it will likely see some rescheduling. For some communities anticipated build start date may be sooner than previously stated but for other communities it may be later.

Fastershire will publish this information as soon as it is possible in line with the revised plan.

Mike Surrey, CEO Gigaclear

“Gigaclear has worked collaboratively with Fastershire since 2015 on the programme to bring full fibre, high speed broadband to rural Herefordshire and Gloucestershire and significant progress has been made to date. The stage 3 build is well underway in the Gloucestershire with network serving five communities live and a further 25 in construction, additionally in Herefordshire another 9 community areas are in build. However, as wayleaves are sought, negotiated and occasionally withheld, and detailed designs are refined to account for conditions on the ground, we acknowledge that some communities have experienced a delay. We would like to reassure you that we are committed to delivering fast broadband services.

We would like to extend our apologies for this, we know how vital access to reliable broadband is and we are sorry for the frustration this has caused. We are now working hard on the delivery of the revised deployment plan which will be released in November, when it is fully agreed with Fastershire. To ensure the rollout programme is accelerated and delivered against the new schedule, we are increasing resources across the region.  

We want to take this opportunity to reassure residents that we are committed to successfully delivering ultrafast broadband services to the region and improving our communications to the community”.

 

 

Industry Consultations

Herefordshire Council and Gloucestershire County Council have recently updated the Fastershire Broadband Strategy outlining how the project aims to achieve the vision that… “by the end of 2019/20 all residents and businesses in Herefordshire and Gloucestershire will be able to order the broadband service they need and a high percentage will be using faster broadband to do more online, boost business growth and achieve their potential”

The strategy includes a number of stages (3 and 4) which will be delivered in part through a series of 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

The consultation processes for all stage 3 procurements have been concluded.

Stage 4 

The Viable Clusters element of Stage 4 of the Fastershire Broadband Strategy will be delivered in partnership with Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin using EAFRD funding.

The Open Market Review for the Clusters closed on November 3rd 2017.

Following a series of representations, the intended intervention area was refined from 15,269 to 13,664 premises with one Cluster (S11 Church Stretton) being completely removed from the project. 

The Public Consultation was published on December 1st 2017 and closed at noon on January 3rd 2017.

Following further representations two clusters (Ludlow and Burwarton) were removed in their entirety leaving the Final Eligible Intervention Area at 13,156 premises, mapped as follows.

 

An Open OJEU procurement process will follow in early 2018 to identify a supplier or suppliers to deliver the project as a whole or in part.

Industry Day

The partners hosted an Industry Day for potential bidders to explain the project, introduce the selected clusters and discuss the procurement process on Friday 10 November 2017. 

 

Primary School Filmmaking Competition 2018

We're inviting Primary Schools across Herefordshire and Gloucestershire to take part in our filmmaking challenge to create a short film about internet.

Schools are required to produce a 30-60 second film to showcase positive use of the internet and can be an advert, comedy, documentary, ‘how to guide’ or news report.

The competition is designed to help demonstrates the benefits of the internet but also to provide an opportunities for children to use the internet as a learning tool, to search and accesses online resources to help them plan and produce their film.

The films will be uploaded to the Fastershire website and the film with the most views wins £200 for their school.

The 2017 Winner - Walford Primary School, Herefordshire

Register

To take part in the FasterSchools filmmaking competition 2018, please complete the online registration form and return to info@fastershire.com
 

Online Resources

To help you get started we've compiled some useful resources and 'how to' videos.

Into Film

Into Film is an Education charity that offers support to teachers and educators to achieve a wide range of effective learning outcomes in their use of film.

Their website offers free resources about all elements of film making, by age and topic.

www.intofilm.org/resources

Young Film Academy

Young Film Academy helps over 7,500 young people each year complete their first films across the UK and is an official London delivery partner for the BFI Film Academy.

www.youngfilmacademy.co.uk

How to? Storyboard

How to? Sound

How to? Direct

How to? Structure

How to? Light

How to? Edit

How to? Health and Safety

How to? Camera

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...

Introduction for helpers

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 (To see if your property is included in Fastershire’s main rollout, please use the address checker above)
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 >

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96,516 Fast homes
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621 cabinets
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Faster broadband is being rolled out across Herefordshire and Gloucestershire between now but it is not possible to flick a switch to make every area go live on the same day and 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.