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 2022 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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
For the remaining, hardest to
reach properties, Fastershire is using a mix of solutions, including a bespoke
grants and contract extensions.
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.
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.
For the remaining properties, Fastershire will be exploring
possible contract extensions with BT and Gigaclear to provide access to faster
Stage 5 Fastershire Community Broadband Grant
The new Stage 5 will offer grants on a property basis to individuals and businesses to procure their own Gbps capable broadband solutions from a selected range of suppliers.
Grants will be provided as follows:
Individual grants will be offered to eligible business premises up to £25,000 via the second phase of the Marches and Gloucestershire business Broadband Grant (MGBG)
Fastershire Community Broadband Grant grants for residential and commercial buildings that are not eligible for ERDF funding
To read more about the plans please download the full strategy, please click here.
Over 90% of Herefordshire homes and businesses can access superfast broadband and speeds of 30mpbs or above according to new figures released by ThinkBroadband, the UK’s largest independent broadband information website.
More residents than ever before are now able to upgrade their broadband package and benefit from faster broadband speeds by ordering a new fibre service.
Superfast broadband means that a whole family could be online at the same time, doing homework, watching iPlayer, using Skype or Facetime and doing the weekly shop, all without any time delay or frozen screens.
Then majority of this coverage is due to the work of Herefordshire Council’s broadband project, Fastershire, which has helped increased superfast coverage in the county from 0.6% of properties in 2012.
The project’s existing rollout contracts will see the county’s superfast broadband coverage rise to 96%, however, the Council is due to approve Fastershire’s new strategy which will push the coverage even further.
For the remaining hardest to reach properties that still require access to faster broadband and are not part of any planned rollout, Stage 5 of Fastershire’s new strategy will support communities through grant funding to contract directly with broadband providers.
Businesses can already access capital funding to bring high-speed connectivity through the project’s business broadband grant, and the project plans to launch a similar scheme for residential properties in the New Year.
Councillor Trish Marsh, the Cabinet member for Environment, Economy and Skills at Herefordshire Council said: “Despite being one of the most sparsely populated counties in England, Herefordshire is quickly becoming one of the best connected areas in the country. This is vital to the future of our communities and businesses.
“Infrastructure projects like this are always challenging but even more so in such a rural county as Herefordshire, which had so little existing superfast coverage. We know that the rollout of these new broadband networks sometimes takes a bit longer than residents and businesses would like, but there has been a massive investment in the county. We're proud of the leap in superfast coverage from under 1% to over 90% in 7 years. Now we are really starting to the see the benefits and encourage householders to check the new options now available to them.”
Herefordshire continues to lead the way in the rollout of the new full fibre broadband. This the newest form of broadband technology that has capacity to download up to 1000mpbs per property. The county already boasts over 20% coverage of full fibre connections, compared to 10% nationally. This is set to increase significantly to around 56% of the properties in rural areas by 2022 as a result of the Fastershire’s current rollout contracts with network suppliers, Gigaclear and Airband and its previous contract with BT.
Stage 5 of the Fastershire Broadband Strategy will focus on the final 2-4% of Gloucestershire and Herefordshire that remain outside of any formal plan to be upgraded to superfast broadband.
In anticipation of the launch of the Fastershire Community
Grant Dynamic Purchasing System, which will be the main mechanism used to
deliver Stage 5, Fastershire have published a State Aid Public Consultation. This will determine which premises will be considered to be
eligible for Stage 5 and it is important that any broadband infrastructure
provider that has plans or an existing footprint in either county, verifies
that the premises highlighted have not or will not achieve NGA capability
through commercial means.
We have evaluated the information provided and can confirm that of the 29,430 Unique Property Reference Number (UPRN) that formed the basis of the consultation, 19,451 have been claimed as either covered or planned by one or more commercial providers and therefore will not be the target of our future investment.
A final total of 9,979 UPRNs will be eligible for our Stage 5 Fastershire Community Grant.
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
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
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...
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;
Your current broadband download
capacity is below 2Mbps
There are no alternative
affordable broadband services available to you which would provide a
download speed of at least 2Mbps
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)
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'll let you know when you can order.