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.
Faster broadband provides boost to a television production company in north Herefordshire
6th January, 2021
Vicarious Productions, a film and television production facility based in Edvin Loach, is one of 400 premises in hard-to-reach communities who have gone from being among the worst connected areas in the UK to having access to some of the fastest internet in the country.
Like Vicarious Productions, many more homes, pubs, farms, village shops, village halls, and a caravan park, in hard-to-reach communities around Tedstone Wafre, from Collington to Bromyard Downs, and west from Buckenhill to Edwyn Ralph, are stepping into a faster generation of broadband.
Delivered under the Fastershire project and part funded by the Rural Broadband Infrastructure Scheme and managed by the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs using the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE). Independent rural broadband provider Airband is deploying its bespoke fibre broadband solution, RuralOptic, to 10 dispersed clusters of premises spread across the county and the Tedstone Wafre area is the latest to complete.
“Having an Airband connection means we are able to run a television and film production business here from the heart of the Herefordshire countryside,” says Vicarious Productions director Carol Harding, who is currently working on a production of My Name is Leon - an adaptation of Kit De Waal’s best-selling book by Shola Amoo (The Last Tree) for BBC One.
“I can direct people on set in real time, get rushes sent down the line and actually produce a whole film from this rural spot,” she said.
“During the first lockdown, having this connection meant I was able to produce a short film for Greenacre Films/ITV in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. I was able to see and communicate with the director, cast and crew on set in real time, get rushes and edits sent down the line and actually produce a whole film from this rural spot,” she said. “I wouldn’t have been able to do any of this without my Airband connection,” she said.
Carol is one of a growing number of residents and businesses who are thrilled with the increased capacity that better connectivity offers.
Airband has announced that take-up of the fibre broadband service is already at 15% - which is a significant uptake for the industry as people are often tied into existing contracts. Residents and businesses in the area have been eager to get FTTP (fibre to the premises) connections, which offer speeds of up to one gigabit per second (1Gbps) – which is 15 times faster than the current UK average of 64Mbps.
Ultrafast fibre broadband technology provides capacity for multiple devices, streaming, the use of smart appliances, and uninterrupted video calls. It also facilitates agri-tech software and better remote security.
Chris Penkoks, Marches Project Manager for Airband, said: “Traditionally take-up on a new network can be quite slow as most people will be tied into 18 or 24 month contracts, so it shows how important better connectivity is for these rural communities. Rollout in Herefordshire has been slower than we’d hoped, and lockdown caused additional slowdown, but we’re now pushing ahead at pace to finish our other fibre clusters in Tarrington and Monkhide.”
Councillor Ellie Chowns, Cabinet Member for Environment, Economy and Skills said: "Covid has demonstrated how vital connectivity is in modern life and so we’re delighted but not surprised to see such a high take-up of ultrafast fibre broadband services.
“Working with firms like Airband, it is our mission to empower communities across Herefordshire with next generation connectivity that will improve lives and boost the regional and national economy.”
Fastershire is bringing faster broadband across rural Herefordshire and Gloucestershire and currently over 92% of Herefordshire properties can access a 30mbps or greater service, increasing to 97% under phase 2, and for more of the harder to reach businesses, Fastershire is using bespoke grants to provide access.
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.