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What is Fastershire?

Fastershire is a project to bring fibre broadband to around 90% of homes and businesses in Herefordshire and Gloucestershire by the end of 2016. That's roughly 148,000 premises.

Fastershire is a non-profit making collaboration between Herefordshire Council, Gloucestershire County Council and BT that will boost the local economy by approximately £419M over 10 years. The two counties’ industrial zones and business parks are a key priority as fibre broadband will help local businesses to become more competitive. The project will also be of significant benefit to those premises which currently receive downstream speeds of less than 2Mbps. Ofcom believe that around 20% cent of premises in the two counties currently receive less than 2Mbps but that percentage will plummet to virtually zero as the project will ensure they benefit from faster speeds.

We'll also work with local communities as well as help small businesses to adopt technologies and grow.
The project is being funded by BDUK, Herefordshire Council, Gloucestershire County Council and BT.

Where will the funding be spent?

Public funds will be spent on bringing faster broadband services to rural areas where there is no existing fibre broadband service and which are not expected to receive private investment.

What is fibre broadband?

Fibre broadband is the new generation of broadband - much faster, more reliable and it uses a different technology. Whilst most traditional broadband (known as ADSL) is delivered via copper telephone lines, fibre broadband commonly uses fibre optic cable as part of the link between the customer and the exchange.

Fibre broadband can be delivered in two ways: fibre to the cabinet (FTTC) and fibre to the premises (FTTP).

FTTC uses fibre-optic cables throughout the network right up to the street cabinet. It then uses existing copper wires to connect the cabinet to homes and businesses. FTTC provides wholesale download speeds up to 80Mbps and upload speeds up to 20Mbps, which are then offered as different service packages by retail Internet Service Providers (ISPs).

FTTP means fibre-optic cables run from the exchange right to the door of each house or business. It provides wholesale download speeds up to 330Mbps and upload speeds up to 30Mbps, again offered as different service packages by ISPs.

From Spring 2013, anyone in an FTTC-enabled area will be able to upgrade to FTTP 'on demand'.  ‘Fibre on Demand’ [FoD] allows any end-user to have a full fibre connection installed to their home or business premise.  There will be a charge for the associated network build and an installation charge – all based on distance from BT’s nearest network nodes. FoD will allow access to speeds of up to 330Mbit/s downstream and 30Mbit/s upstream.

When can I get fibre broadband?

Fibre broadband is being rolled out across both Herefordshire and Gloucestershire between 2013 and the end of 2016. From summer 2013 you will be able to check maps on this website to see which phase of delivery your area is in, and you will also be able to put your postcode into our postcode checker to see if you can get it yet. This will also tell you which telephone exchange area you fall within.

If you’re one of the premises in Herefordshire and Gloucestershire that can connect straightaway, contact your choice of Internet Service Provider to place an order. A list of suppliers can also be found here. Please note that not all of one area will go live on the same day so it's worth checking the website regularly as information is constantly updated.

Why can't you tell me when my specific area is going live?

We’re planning the rollout, working closely with our partners and participating organisations, taking into account many factors including local demographics and geography, planning requirements, the existing engineering infrastructure and the availability of suitable technologies to provide a service.

It’s not possible with a programme of this size to plan every area at the same time so some areas will be enabled before others. We fully understand people's frustration and the huge importance of fibre broadband so we'll update our information regularly as plans evolve.

How do I order fibre broadband?

Once you've checked your line to confirm fibre broadband is available, it's much the same as ordering normal broadband. There are different Internet Service Providers (ISPs) offering the service, so you can shop around and choose the best deal for you. You can see a list of ISPs currently offering fibre broadband here.

I’m in an enabled area but can’t get fibre broadband. Why not?

This can be due to one or more different factors.

1. Your line may be connected to a roadside cabinet that has not yet been upgraded to fibre broadband. As we progress through the rollout more and more cabinets will be upgraded.

2. You may be served by what is known as an 'exchange only' line that is connected directly to the telephone exchange without an intervening green roadside cabinet. Please see the relevant question about exchange only lines.

3. You may be on a line that is too long from your local roadside cabinet to support a worthwhile fibre broadband connection.

We’re working hard to upgrade as many premises as possible to fibre broadband, and where fibre optic cannot be made available we’re aiming to develop solutions to bring faster broadband to more premises using alternative technologies by the end of 2016.

Register your details with us so we can keep you updated with progress via email.

My line is connected directly to the exchange. Will I be able to get fibre broadband?

Exchange Only (EO) lines are connected directly to the local telephone exchange rather than passing through a green cabinet that can be upgraded with a fibre broadband connection. These lines are generally either very close to the telephone exchange or very remote from it.   There are cases where some EO lines may be fibre enabled, for example where an additional cabinet is built close to the exchange or where Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) is used.  Where EO lines are not fibre enabled and are unable to receive download speeds of 2Mbits/s alternative approaches may be required to provide an uplift in speed.

When fibre broadband becomes available in my area, will my broadband simply get faster without me taking any action?

No. To get fibre broadband, you'll need to place an order with an Internet Service Provider (ISP) who offers this service. This is because fibre broadband uses a different technology and an engineer will need to visit your premises to install the necessary equipment.


There are several ISPs offering fibre broadband packages so you can shop around and choose the package that’s best for you. If you choose not to upgrade to fibre broadband, you'll be able to continue using your existing broadband service as normal.

How much does fibre broadband cost?

Prices start from around £16.50 for home users and £30 for a business service, which may not be much more than you are currently paying for standard broadband.  Many customers take the opportunity to review their existing contract for telephone calls at the same time which may mean you end up paying only a little more, if anything extra at all.

Check out the prices from the Internet Service Providers now offering fibre broadband packages.

How long does it take to be installed after I place an order and what does installation involve?

The time before installation of fibre broadband varies among  Internet Service Providers, typically it takes about two weeks.  An engineer will call and install a new modem at your premises and you will receive a new router from your Internet Service Provider.  In most cases, your other telephone and computer equipment doesn’t need to be replaced.

How fast is fibre broadband?

The exact speeds you'll be able to get will depend on how your own premises are connected.  There are two main ways in which fibre optic can be used to bring you fibre broadband:

Fibre to the cabinet (FTTC) and fibre to the premises (FTTP).

FTTC uses fibre-optic cables throughout the network right up to the street cabinet. It then uses copper wires to connect the cabinet to homes and businesses. FTTC provides wholesale download speeds up to 80Mbps and upload speeds up to 20Mbps.

FTTP means fibre-optic cables run right to the door of each house or business. It provides wholesale download speeds up to 330Mbps and upload speeds up to 30Mbps.

The exact speed you get also depends on a number of additional factors like the length of your line from the telephone exchange or green roadside cabinet, the line quality and the equipment and internal wiring within your premises. The ISP package you select may also affect the speed available. Fastershire is working to ensure that everyone gets as fast a speed as possible given their geographical location.

Why can't you tell me when my specific area is going live?

Information on new areas of availability has to be released to all Internet Service Providers on an equivalent basis and that's why new areas are only announced as part of this national process when they go live.

Also, engineering plans and delivery timescales do depend on factors such as planning applications, the provision of electricity to the new roadside cabinets and even the good old British weather. 

Who will pay for the roll-out of faster broadband in Herefordshire and Gloucestershire?

The project is being funded by Herefordshire Council, Gloucestershire County Council, BDUK and  BT.

How does the programme plan its roll-out?

The aim of the Fastershire programme is to achieve the best long-term broadband coverage for Herefordshire and Gloucestershire.

We’re planning the rollout, working closely with our partners and participating organisations, taking into account many factors including local demographics and geography, planning requirements, the existing engineering infrastructure and the availability of suitable technologies to provide a service.

It’s not possible with a programme of this size to plan every area at the same time so some areas will be enabled before others. We fully understand people's frustration and the huge importance of fibre broadband and we will keep you regularly updated as our plans evolve.

What about the estimated 10% of homes and businesses that will not be able to get fibre broadband?

In areas where fibre broadband is not being automatically provided, Fastershire will make use of other broadband technologies such as satellite and advanced copper. These areas and possible solutions will only become clear later in the programme.

Can local suppliers benefit?

Local suppliers can benefit by making better use of the internet to serve their customers and improve their own efficiency as faster broadband spreads across the two counties. There are no specific opportunities for local suppliers within the Fastershire programme but some may emerge as the programme progresses.

Can I get involved?

Both Herefordshire and Gloucestershire Councils are keen that as many residents as possible are able to benefit from the faster broadband that is being provided. There may be scope for you to help in your local community by raising demand for broadband and helping those who have no experience with the internet to start using it. To discuss what you could do to help please email us at info@fastershire.com.

Where do I go to get more information?

We’re continually updating this website so please check regularly. If you want to be kept informed about the programme and when fibre broadband is coming to you please leave your details in the ‘register your interest’ section and we’ll let you know as soon as we can.

How do I get support for my business?

Register your interest on the relevant business support page. One of our advisers will assess your eligibility to see what support package is available

What's the objective of the Business Support Programme

To support the growth and development of local eligible businesses by showing you how fibre broadband can be used to benefit your business

How will the Business Support Programme help me?

To support the growth and development of local eligible businesses by showing you how fibre broadband can be used to benefit your business

How will business support help my business

The ethos of the programme is about identifying the business benefits offered by fibre broadband rather than the technology itself. By this we will help eligible businesses to understand how fibre broadband can help them to find new customers, offer new or improved services, increase company efficiencies and so on.

How does the Business Support Programme work?

The business support programme has been designed to help businesses to understand that fibre broadband is much more than just a quicker connection.  It can help you to exploit the new services and ways of working that exist in the market place via an array of materials and a personal business advisor who will support, coach and provide insight and help with development.

What content's covered within the programme

Business Support Programme will show businesses how faster broadband connections can develop new sales and increase profit levels by maximising efficiency and productivity.

The subject matters offered broadly include:
Selling to new customers, doing more with the same, managing change, how to sell more to existing customers, reduce risk and reduce cost.

How do I know this programme is suitable for my business?

A specialist adviser will work with you to assess your current situation and then make recommendations based on this to create a tailored support plan.

How do I find out if my business is eligible for this programme?

Our Business Support Programme is governed by funding eligibility criteria based on size, primary activity, turnover etc.

By completing the short application online one of our advisers will be in touch to assess eligibility and recommend a suitable level of support.

How do I take part in the programme if I’m not eligible?

Non eligible Businesses will not necessarily be turned away. Subject to availability you may be able to take part in events and access online content.

Can't find the answer to your question?

Email us at info@fastershire.com