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More homes and businesses in the Forest of Dean and Golden Valley set to benefit from faster broadband

Published
01.12.2016

Gloucestershire County Council and Herefordshire Council have today recommended awarding the contract to Gigaclear to deliver phase two of the Fastershire broadband rollout in parts of the Forest of Dean in Gloucestershire and the Golden Valley in Herefordshire.

The £4.54m contract award will see over 2,600 of the hardest to reach homes and businesses in the area benefit from ultrafast broadband using a full fibre network delivered by Gigaclear.

The contract award made by Herefordshire Council and Gloucestershire County Council with financial support from BDUK means that premises will be able to access speeds of up to 1GB with fibre directly to the home.

The plan to deliver fibre to the home pre-empts the chancellor's announcement last week to help at least two million UK homes and business get access to full fibre broadband.

Cllr Mark Hawthorne, leader of Gloucestershire County Council said, "Access to a fast and reliable digital connection is becoming more and more important for families and businesses here in Gloucestershire and right across the UK.

"We're making a real difference to peoples' lives, enabling the fibre network to reach some of the most rural areas where larger suppliers were not prepared to go. Faster broadband connection remain a priority to our economy, education and supporting our communities. The Fastershire project is pushing the boundaries of the technologies available with this next stage a key step in meeting the ambitions of the two counties.

"That's why phase two of our Fastershire project focuses on using new and emerging technology to deliver full fibre solutions to some of the hardest to reach premises across the county."

"Cllr David Harlow, cabinet member from Herefordshire Council added, "It's positive that the Government has recognised the importance of "full-fibre" or fibre to the premise (FTTP) access and Fastershire has already made a significant investment in this technology."

"It's a measure of the project's success that currently 15% of the properties in Herefordshire have access to full-fibre and is in stark contrast to the recent news that only 2% of properties across the UK can access the more future proof technology."

"By making the recommendation to award the contract to Gigaclear to deliver phase two in parts of the Forest of Dean and the Golden Valley Fastershire will significantly increase the number of rural homes and businesses that can access ultrafast broadband."

In June 2015 Gigaclear were also awarded a contract by Fastershire to deliver ultrafast broadband through their full fibre network to over 6,500 homes and businesses in the Cotswolds as part of a second phase rollout in the district. Delivery is well underway is this area with over 3900 premises now able to access ultrafast speeds. The rollout is expected to complete in summer 2017.

Phase two of the Fastershire project is building on the phase 1 rollout delivered by BT which has already enabled over 78,000 premises in Gloucestershire and over 37,000 in Herefordshire with access to faster broadband over 30Mbps.

A further contract to cover the rest of Gloucestershire and Herefordshire under phase two is expected to be announced early next year.

Updates on the phase 2 rollout of the Fastershire project can be found here - www.fastershire.com/where-when/phase-two-the-rollout

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