Openreach today confirmed they will deploy their “superfast fibre broadband” (FTTC/P) network to cover a further 2,200 homes and businesses in the UK county of Herefordshire (completion by the end of 2019), which comes after BT signed a new GBP887K contract under the Fastershire project. The Herefordshire County Council has already signed one Phase 2 roll-out deal with Gigaclear, which will deploy Gigabit capable FTTP to an additional 8,000 premises in the region by 2020 (here). Today’s announcement reflects a second Phase 2 signing, albeit with a different operator (funded by GBP218,000 from the council and GBP668,000 from BT).
Phase 1 of the original project enabled 83% of premises (35,000) in Herefordshire, and 82% in Gloucestershire, to gain access to speeds of 30Mbps+. By comparison the Phase 2 project is expected to increase coverage in Herefordshire to 95% (97% in Gloucestershire) through various contracts with both Gigaclear and BT.
Councillor David Harlow, Cabinet Member for Economy, said: “We are striving to enable as many properties in Herefordshire to access faster broadband.
By working with BT in Hereford, Fastershire will ensure that more homes and businesses will be able to benefit from superfast speeds.”
Steve Haines, Openreach‘s MD of NGA, said: “This major expansion of the Fastershire programme means more great news for people living and working in Hereford and we’re delighted to be playing such a key role. Just two years ago, Britons used less than half the data they do now on their home broadband and this pace shows no signs of slowing.
Consumers are doing more and more online and at the same time, from streaming high definition movies and TV, gaming, online shopping to using mobile devises over wireless broadband. Every day the number of services delivered to us online, whether designed to entertain, educate or meet our daily needs, is growing. Content and applications will only get more sophisticated making high speed broadband vital for doing all your essential tasks online, so I hope that communities take full advantage of the technology as it arrives.”
Between both counties the Fastershire programme has so far reached an additional 96,516 premises, including upgrades at 99 exchanges, 702Kms of new fibre optic cable and the installation of 407 new street cabinets.
The project claims that it will help to boost the local economy by GBP420m over the next ten years.
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An angry reader says BT left him without broadband for two weeks and billed for fictitious callout chargesALAMY
I was horrified to see BT’s proposals for country-wide broadband (“Fast broadband vowed for 1m rural homes”, last week). We were left without broadband for two weeks this year, had fictitious callout charges added to our bill and had fibre optic put in and then taken out. I sent an invoice for our time and costs to BT, only to be rung by a senior complaints manager who said “you’ll have to sue us if you want to get paid”.
BT has done nothing to help my rural businesses when it has cocked up. Neighbours have had serious problems with BT, too. That’s all aside from its five visits to connect my autistic god-daughter’s telephone in Ledbury — nine months later it was connected within about…
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Parking spaces outside the shops in Brockworth’s Court Road have been blocked off today so super-fast broadband can be installed. The ongoing rollout of the Fastershire project, bringing upgraded internet speeds to Gloucestershire and Herefordshire, has reached Brockworth this month, one of 10 areas in the current phase of the scheme.
But it means anyone planning on a short drive to the shops in the village ought to consider walking instead as the work is blocking off all the parking spaces.
Court Road in Brockworth this morning
The 10 areas where work will start on upgrading the communications capacity in the current phase of Fastershire are:
- Portway, near Upton St Leonards
- Gloucester Business park in Quedgeley
- Brockworth and Brockworth East
- Brookthorpe, west of Quedgeley
- Deerhurst Walton off the A38 between Cheltenham and Tewkesbury
- Golden Valley near GCHQ
- Staverton Bridge
- Coombe Hill
- Stoke Orchard near Bishop’s Cleeve
The Court Road works are listed as running until this Friday (October 20).
The 10 areas are all in Lots 3d or 3e
More than 78,000 have already benefitted from faster communications speeds under the first phase of the Fastershire project. Councillor Lynden Stowe, Gloucestershire County Council’s cabinet member for economy, skills and growth, said: “Faster broadband is vital for our communities and businesses to thrive and grow.
“I’m delighted that the Fastershire project, in partnership with Gigaclear, will be taking faster broadband to even more homes and businesses in some of the most rural areas of the county where larger suppliers were not prepared to go without public investment.”
Contractors Gigaclear are in charge of the works. Joe Frost, business development director at Gigaclear, said: “We are delighted to be providing a futureproof network to local people, which will improve the quality of their lives for work, entertainment, communications and play. “Thousands of properties in the Cotswolds have already been connected to our ultrafast broadband service on time and in budget thanks to the Fastershire project.
“We are delighted to be continuing our partnership with Gloucestershire County Council through phase two and look forward to welcoming these new communities to our network.
There is no doubt that this will continue to be socially and economically transformative for these rural areas.”