Five more Herefordshire communities set for spring fibre broadband ‘switch-on’ as faster broadband rollout gains momentum

More than 5,000 homes and businesses are already able to connect to fibre through the Fastershire project 

Gorsley, How Caple, Llangarron, Much Marcle and Symonds Yat will be the next communities to become a part of Fastershire. 

Work has been progressing well in these areas and the programme, now at the start of its second year, is on target to make fibre available to the first homes and businesses in these five communities during the spring. 

Fastershire aims to take faster broadband to the parts of Herefordshire and Gloucestershire not covered by any commercial rollout plans. 

So far, throughout the Gloucestershire and Herefordshire project area, engineers have walked around 300 kilometres to undertake vital surveys, laid more than165 kilometres of fibre cable, moved more than 250 tonnes of earth and poured around 115 tonnes of concrete to make faster broadband a reality. 

In November last year, Ross-on-Wye became the first Herefordshire community to ‘go live’ as part of Fastershire, with over 5,000 homes and businesses in the town now having access to fibre, and work is continuing to connect more. 

Councillor Graham Powell, broadband lead for Herefordshire Council, said: “A great deal of vitally important work has gone in to get us where we are today. We are now starting to see the results of all that labour with more and more local people and businesses in towns and villages throughout the county getting access to faster broadband. 

“This fibre technology will not only help people access services in their community, but it will also mean that businesses can grow and Herefordshire will benefit from a thriving local economy.” 

Bill Murphy, managing director of next generation networks for BT, added: “This is a major engineering programme but work is progressing well and gathering momentum. 

“There’s still a long way to go, but we are getting there and this is an exciting time for people in the Fastershire area. 

“This project will have a hugely positive impact on rural as well as urban communities in Herefordshire, with fibre broadband providing a whole range of opportunities for households and businesses alike.” 

Fastershire, a partnership between Herefordshire Council, Gloucestershire County Council and BT, with additional funding from the Government’s Broadband Delivery UK programme, aims to extend fibre broadband to around 90 per cent of premises in Herefordshire by the end of 2016. 

The project is building on BT’s own commercial roll-out which has already made fibre broadband available to more than 33,000 homes and businesses in Hereford, Ledbury and Leominster, rising to nearly 35,000 once the commercial rollout is completed. 

Openreach’s network is open to communications providers on an equal basis, so once fibre has gone live in an area, Herefordshire people can order the service they want from a range of fibre broadband providers to enjoy a far superior internet experience. 

Fibre broadband will enable residents and businesses to enjoy download speeds of up to 80 megabits (Mbps) per second and uploads of up to 20 Mbps*. 
It will also boost the competitiveness of local businesses, helping them to find new customers and operate more efficiently, while opening up a host of new learning and development opportunities for households. 

More detailed information on the roll-out is available at the Fastershire website, www.fastershire.com


Notes to editors 

*These are the top wholesale speeds available from Openreach to all service providers; speeds offered by service providers may vary. 

When adding the contract area to BT’s own commercial roll-out, this will deliver access to fibre broadband to 90% of premises across Gloucestershire. 

Openreach provides external CPs (Communications Providers) with a variety of ways in which they can offer fibre broadband to their customers. These include an ‘active’ product – GEA – which comes in various speed combinations and a ‘passive’ product – PIA – whereby CPs can lay their own fibre via our ducts and poles if they want greater control over the service they offer. 

About BT 

BT is one of the world’s leading providers of communications services and solutions, serving customers in more than 170 countries. Its principal activities include the provision of networked IT services globally; local, national and international telecommunications services to its customers for use at home, at work and on the move; broadband, TV and internet products and services; and converged fixed/mobile products and services. BT consists principally of four lines of business: BT Global Services, BT Retail, BT Wholesale and Openreach. 

For the year ended 31 March 2013, BT Group’s reported revenue was £18,103m with reported profit before taxation of £2,315m. 

British Telecommunications plc (BT) is a wholly-owned subsidiary of BT Group plc and encompasses virtually all businesses and assets of the BT Group. BT Group plc is listed on stock exchanges in London and New York. 

For more information, visit www.btplc.com 

About Superfast Britain 
Superfast Britain is a Government programme of investment in broadband and communication infrastructure across the UK. Run by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, this investment helps businesses to grow, creates jobs and will make Britain more competitive in the global race. The portfolio is comprised of three elements: 

• £780m to extend superfast broadband to 95% of the UK by 2017 
• £150m to provide high speed broadband to businesses in 22 cities 
• £150m to improve quality and coverage of mobile phone and basic data network services 

Administered on behalf of Government by Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK), Superfast Britain is transforming Britain by promoting growth, enabling skills and learning, and improving quality of life. For further information: https://www.gov.uk/broadband-delivery-uk 

Issued by Herefordshire Council and the BT regional press office. 

For more information, call Dawn Thompson at Herefordshire Council press office on 01432 260324 or email: dawn.thompson@herefordshire.gov.uk 
or Emma Tennant at the BT press office on its 24-hour number 0800 085 0660 or e-mail: emma.tennant@bt.com