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.