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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.

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.

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.

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

13 Jul 2020
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Get to know your tablet (Hereford Library)

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

 

Location: Hereford Library, Broad Street, Hereford, HR4 9AU

Date: Monday 13th July 2020

Time: 11:00-13:00

More
14 Jul 2020
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Get to know your tablet (Kington Library)

Learn the basics of how to use a tablet at Kington Library, 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 14th July 2020

Time: 10:00-12:00

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16 Jul 2020
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Get to know your tablet (Leominster Library)

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

 

Location: Leominster Library, 8 The Buttercross, Leominster, HR6 8BN

Date: Thursday 16th July 2020

Time: 10:00-12:00

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20 Jul 2020
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Get to know your tablet (Ross-on-Wye Library)

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

 

Location: Ross-on-Wye Library,

Date: Monday 20th July 2020

Time: 16:00-18:00

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21 Jul 2020
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Introduction to email (Ledbury Library)

Learn how to set-up an email account, send and receive emails and attachments. Laptops will be provided for the session.

 

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

Date: Tuesday 21st July 2020

Time: 16:00-18:00

More

Latest News

Pioneering Dig Under the River Severn is Broadband First

16th October, 2019
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Gigaclear has become the first broadband provider to drill under the River Severn to reach two of Gloucestershire’s most remote and poorly connected villages. This significant feat of civil engineering will deliver full Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) broadband access to 861 homes in Longney and Framilode. 

The work has been carried out as part of stage 3 of Gloucestershire County Council’s Fastershire broadband project with Gigaclear, which will give more than 70,000 homes and businesses in Gloucestershire and Herefordshire access to a new ultrafast network.
 
Until now, these villages have been avoided by broadband providers because of their inaccessibility. They are surrounded by the River Severn on the west side and a canal on the east side, meaning there was no way of connecting these communities without navigating a watercourse. Gigaclear, the leading rural ultrafast broadband provider, is the first in the industry to have taken on such a challenging project. 
 
It has taken many months of planning and several engineering options have been discounted during the process. The River Severn has the second highest tidal range in the world, and a conventional dig through a river is impossible. Drilling under the canal was too difficult due to the depth of the canal’s bank stabilisation. Overhead cables could not be installed because large ships use the canal. The only option for Gigaclear to connect Longney and Framilode, was to drill under the River Severn. 
 
This highly unusual project, delivered by Gloucestershire-based contractor, Complete Utilities, involved drilling 5 metres below the River Severn to avoid disturbing the riverbed; starting in Elmore Back and laying 6.5km of Gigaclear’s fibre cable through to Minsterworth. A horizontal directional drill, specifically a Vermeer drill with 133kn pullback force, had to be imported especially for the project.     
 
Caine Edwards, Programme Manager at Complete Utilities, said: “As a business based within rural Gloucestershire, we are delighted to be working alongside Gigaclear to deliver ultrafast broadband to Longney and Framilode. This unique project gives us the opportunity to demonstrate the latest methodologies and see the positive impact it has on communities that have previously been avoided due to engineering difficulties.” 
 
Residents of Longney and Framilode currently suffer internet speeds of between 1Mbps and 3Mbps. This makes simple tasks, such as checking emails, incredibly difficult and frustrating. Access to Gigaclear’s network will deliver internet speeds up to 1Gbps. This means that it will take less than one minute to download a 2.5-hour HD film. The upgrade will completely transform the online capabilities of residents and businesses in the area, making them among the best connected in Britain. 
 
The benefits of a full fibre ultrafast network include being able to stream content with no lag, latency or buffering. Multiple devices can be connected at once and used over the network with no drop in performance. Unlike copper, which has traditionally been used in broadband networks, pure fibre will last for centuries and can support varying bandwidths, meaning it is completely futureproof. 
 
Peter Pentecost, Regional General Manager at Gigaclear, said: “We are proud to be working alongside the Fastershire Broadband Project in bringing best in class broadband speeds to Longney and Framilode through our full fibre ultrafast network. The scale of this civil engineering task goes to show how passionately we believe in the importance of digital inclusion for all, no matter how rural their chosen home or business is. We hear time and time again how an excellent internet connection can really transform lives, be it accessing important social and retail services remotely or simply keeping in touch with family members living far away.” 
 
Councillor Patrick Molyneux, Cabinet Member for Economy, Education and Skills and responsible for Fastershire said; “This is a tremendous engineering operation and we’re delighted to see it achieved. The scale of this project illustrates how difficult it is to reach rural areas of our county and how committed Gloucestershire County Council through Fastershire is to providing access faster broadband.
 
Fastershire’s work with Gigaclear is transforming broadband access across the county and is making it one of the fastest areas in the country. Currently 106,000 properties can already access a superfast connection as a result of the Fastershire project. By the end of the rollout this will have risen to 142,000 homes and businesses with well over half of that number capable of gigabit speeds, helping to ensure that our rural communities can continue to thrive.”
 
The first homes and businesses in the villages of Longney and Framilode are due to be connected in the next few weeks, once the FTTP infrastructure is fully in place. With the remainder to be connected once outstanding access agreements with local landowners are secured. 
 
 
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 Government's Better Broadband Scheme aims to help provide access to a basic broadband service that will offer download speeds of at least 10 Mbps.

The Better Broadband Scheme, developed by the UK government, provides a voucher worth up to £350 for basic broadband installation to homes and businesses that will not benefit from superfast broadband. 

The eligibility criteria for the scheme is as follows;

  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 rollout, please use the website address above)

 For more information or to apply, please visit the Government's Better Broadband Scheme website.

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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.