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.
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.
Fastershire's rollout with Gigaclear expanded to reach more properties
12th June, 2020
The rollout of ultrafast broadband in Herefordshire and Gloucestershire has passed the 34,000 homes and businesses mark, and plans have been expanded to reach more rural properties.
Fastershire - the partnership between Herefordshire Council and Gloucestershire County Council to bring faster broadband to the two counties – and Gigaclear initially planned to provide more than 70,000 homes and businesses access to a new ultrafast network and increase superfast coverage to over 97%.
Gigaclear, working with Fastershire, has now revised its contract and commercial commitment to the area, which will result in the total number of properties in the network increased to 110,000, including those premises connected in the previous lot 1 rollout in the Cotswolds.
The revised network design also includes an update of the anticipated delivery timings for each community, bringing some forward and pushing others back, with the overall completion of this significant civil engineering programme now likely to be September 2022.
Gigaclear’s network build in Gloucestershire is more advanced, owing to the completed lot 1 rollout in the Cotswolds, and has seen ultrafast broadband in the county reached over 30,000 rural properties. The original design planned to connect 70,000 homes and businesses in rural Gloucestershire but the new network design has been expanded to see the total number of properties in the county increased to 75,000.
In Herefordshire, where until 2018 Gigaclear didn’t have any existing network coverage, their ultrafast full fibre broadband has now reached over 4,000 rural properties. The original design planned to connect 19,000 homes and businesses in rural Herefordshire but the network design has been expanded to see the total number of properties in the county increased to 29,000.
The rollout has not been without its challenges as Peter Pentecost, Regional General Manager at Gigaclear, acknowledges, “Since our partnership with Fastershire began back in 2015 we have connected over 34,000 homes and businesses across Herefordshire and Gloucestershire, bringing the fastest broadband speeds to some of the most remote properties in the UK. Although we’ve been slowed down by COVID-19, we’ve continued our work in both counties where safe to do so, as our work is considered essential by government, and we’re now actively building in 125 communities.”
“However, this rollout in the most rural parts of the counties is an enormous civil engineering project and is extremely complicated. As with all works of this scale, there are a number of obstacles that can spring up unexpectedly and, because of the way our network works, delays experienced in one community build will impact the start dates for communities further down the build programme. But I am happy to say that with the organisational changes we have made recently, our ability to better forecast our delivery has now improved significantly.
“We are really pleased to be able to build to more properties, and to bring delivery dates forward for some communities. However, we do understand that for those communities where the delivery timings have moved back, some significantly so due to a reconfiguration of the plans, the new network update will be frustrating news.
“The movement in delivery timings is primarily due to three changes we have made to our programme; firstly bringing on additional contractor resources to increase build capacity has meant changing the build order to avoid the extra resources tripping over each other and causing traffic chaos. Secondly, to accommodate additional properties into the build necessitated a redesign of part of the network; and thirdly, the build rollout had to be reordered to ensure all properties connected can be made live as we go, rather than having areas of network dormant waiting for other parts to be completed which is even more frustrating for customers.
“However, we are taking action to increase the speed of delivery. We have spent the last year expanding our team in the region, opening a new office in Gloucester and vastly growing our Operational and Delivery teams. And we have made changes to some of the network designs to ensure we are building our network in the most efficient way possible.”
For information about your property's broadband connection, please use the address checker above.
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.
Please also note that a small number or properties within the administrative area of Telford & Wrekin have also been included in this consultation.
The consultation will close at 12 noon on Monday 3 August 2020.
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.