Pure fibre network set to transform broadband access in the county for years to come.

Broadband connectivity is key to businesses viability and enabling individuals to access online goods and services and with recent drives by local and national government to ensure access even faster connectivity speeds.

Since the start of the Fastershire project in 2012, Herefordshire has moved from less than 1% of households with superfast broadband to 85.5% of premises that can order a service of over 30Mbps. 

The rural nature of the county means that premises are more expensive and harder to reach than in urban areas where existing infrastructure was already in place to support broadband.  Both Herefordshire Council and national government have invested in broadband delivery in the county where investment was not forthcoming from commercial companies.

The government have recently announced its ambition for full fibre – that means fibre directly to the home as this technology provides access to fastest broadband speeds currently available, 330-1000Mbps.  Fastershire has already instigated that approach and to date 12% of Herefordshire premises have access to full fibre, compared to only 4% national.

This is set to continue by 2020 as, Gigaclear, who specialise in connecting rural communities with its pure fibre network, have been contracted by Herefordshire Council’s Fastershire project to deliver phase 2 of the project’s strategy.  Phase 2 in rural areas aims provide access to faster broadband to those properties that were not covered by Phase 1 or commercial rollout.

This deployment will increase full fibre coverage in the county, providing access to speeds up to 1000Mbps and combined with Gigaclear’s own commercial funded fibre development in the area, this will make Herefordshire one of the most fibre enabled counties in the country.

Cllr Harlow, cabinet member for economy and communications, said:

“This level of connectivity is a major factor in enabling businesses to grow, and attracting companies and people to relocate to the county, taking advantage of its rural appeal along with having some of the best connectivity the country has to offer.

"The Fastershire build with Gigaclear is vast and over the next two years Gigaclear will lay approximately 7,000,000 meters of new fibre optic cables across the project area. The network build has already begun and we should soon see the first live properties in Herefordshire. Inevitably with a rollout of this size there will be some disruptions and changes to the delivery timetable, but the new network will transform broadband access in the county for years to come."

To find out if your property can already access faster broadband or where your property sits in the Fastershire rollout, visit www.fastershire.com and use the address checker

About the Fastershire project

Fastershire is a partnership between Gloucestershire County Council and Herefordshire Council to overcome the market’s failure to provide high speed broadband across both counties. It uses funding from central government’s Broadband Delivery UK matched by the local authorities, ERDF, EAFRD and the Marches LEP

  • Phase 1 of the project enabled 83% of premises in Herefordshire, and 82% in Gloucestershire, with access to speeds of 30Mbps or over. This coverage has been achieved through commercial investment and a project contract delivered by BT Group.
     
  • Phase 2 of the project is expected to increase coverage in Herefordshire to 95%, and 97% in Gloucestershire through a contract with Gigaclear and BT Group.
     
  • The projects vision is 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 project has developed a strategy which outlines the approach adopted.

Published: Wednesday, 25th July 2018