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.

The 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 Government recently announced its aspirations to see a ‘full fibre Britain’ 2033 but this is yet to become policy. However, the county already boasts over 20% coverage of full fibre connections, compared to 9% 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.

To find out if your property can access faster broadband, visit www.fastershire.com.

Published: Monday, 23rd December 2019