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The project to bring faster broadband to Herefordshire now has a new website

Businesses and homes across rural Herefordshire are suffering because of poor internet connections - but we have a real chance to change that.

Herefordshire Council has signed a partnership deal with Gloucestershire County Council and telecoms provider BT to deliver a new high speed fibre optic broadband network across the both counties, which should enable 90% of homes and businesses to have access to fibre broadband.

The new network will be delivered in stages and the outline delivery plan will be announced summer 2013. Details of speeds available to individual homes and business premises will only be available around the start of the delivery in each area, due to the need for detailed surveys to be undertaken.

The £56.6m deal is funded by Government and local authority money. Broadband Delivery UK’s original allocation to Herefordshire was £6.35m. This has now been increased to £10.1m in recognition of the challenges faced by the county, which is being matched by Herefordshire Council. BT will also invest £20.9m across both counties.

The investment addresses the rural areas of both counties where high speed broadband would not have been delivered without additional public funding. However, most of Hereford city is already having a fibre based network implemented by BT, and Openreach has announced plans to deliver fibre based networks in Leominster and Ledbury by the end of 2013. This is in addition to this project which will see over 148,000 extra rural homes and businesses across both counties benefit from the public sector investment.

The priority is to make sure everyone has access to the “Universal Service Commitment“ of 2Mbps broadband speed to wipe out the “not spots” in the county (where there is no broadband), along with widespread availability of Next Generation Access (NGA) of 30Mbps or above, allowing households and businesses to use the internet effectively now and in the future.

Along with commercial improvements to the network, we should see 88% of homes and business within Herefordshire having access to speeds of 30Mbps and above by the end of 2016. The intention is to build a network for the future and invest in technology that will future proof the county, which covers the design, build and operation of a wholesale broadband network across both counties. The network will be used by any number of independent internet service providers (ISPs) who would then offer a range of retail broadband packages to the consumer.

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