Gloucestershire County Council and Herefordshire Council have awarded a contract to BT Group to deliver phase two of the Fastershire broadband rollout in parts of Cheltenham and Gloucester.
The £4 million deal, which includes £690,000 from Gloucestershire County Council and the Government’s Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) programme and £3.4 million from BT Group, will see up to 5000 further homes and businesses able to benefit from superfast fibre broadband by the end of 2019.
Cllr Lynden Stowe, Gloucestershire County Council Cabinet Member for Economy, Skills and Growth, said: “Access to a fast and reliable digital connection is becoming more and more important for families and businesses here in Gloucestershire.
“A faster broadband connection remains a priority for our economy, education and supporting our communities, so I’m delighted that Fastershire will now be extending faster broadband further into our urban areas as well as covering some of the hardest to reach premises across the county.”
Alex Chalk, MP for Cheltenham, said: ''Since my election as Cheltenham's MP, I have been determined to help those residents experiencing poor broadband speeds in our town. We have made significant progress in the last two years, with eleven of the antiquated cabinets we inherited now upgraded to superfast broadband. But I have committed not to let up until every area of what I have referred to in Parliament as ‘e-poverty’ is eradicated. I am pleased that we are today now one step closer to reaching that goal.''
Richard Graham, MP for Gloucester, said: “Fibre upgrades will make the difference between being able to work from home and pay bills by computer or not - it certainly helps to manage stress. So this should be a really useful leap forward.”
The upgrades will be carried out by engineers from Openreach, the business responsible for Britain’s largest telephone and broadband network.
Steve Haines, Openreach’s managing director of next generation access, said: “This multi-million pound expansion of the Fastershire programme means more great news for people living and working in these two ambitious communities and we’re delighted to be playing such a key role. This new phase builds on investment by the public and private sectors, which has already made superfast broadband available to 98 per cent of Cheltenham premises and more than 97 per cent of Gloucester households and businesses*.”
Phase two of the Fastershire project is building on the phase 1 rollout, also delivered by BT Group, which has already enabled around 75,000 premises in Gloucestershire with access to faster broadband over 30Mbps.
Further contracts to cover the rest of Gloucestershire under phase two have been awarded to Gigaclear, which will deliver ultrafast broadband to 30,000 homes and businesses by 2020.
Residents can use the address checker on www.fastershire.com to check faster broadband availability for their property.
Fastershire Communications Manager
Emma Tennant at the BT regional press office on 0800 085 0660.
Notes for editor
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 it 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 http://www.fastershire.com/about-fastershire/strategy which outlines the approach adopted.
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:
Openreach is Britain’s digital network business. That means we connect homes, mobile phone masts, schools, shops, banks, hospitals, libraries, broadcasters, governments and businesses – large and small – to the world. It’s our mission to build the best possible network with the highest quality service, and make sure that everyone in Britain can be connected.
Our 30,400 people work on behalf of more than 580 communications providers like Sky, TalkTalk, Vodafone and BT. Our fibre broadband network is the biggest in the UK, covering more than 26.8 million premises. And our technology is the basis of Britain’s thriving digital economy, which is the largest of the G20 countries.
We’re working hard to give people the broadband speeds they need at work and at home. Over the last decade, we’ve invested more than £11bn into our network. And we now manage more than 158 million kilometres of cable stretching from Scotland to Cornwall, and from Wales to the east coast. But we’re not stopping there – we’re making superfast broadband speeds available to thousands more homes and businesses every week.
We’re owned by BT Group and independently governed. Our business is highly regulated, and more than 90 per cent of our revenue comes from services that are regulated by Ofcom. Any company can access our products under the same prices, terms and conditions.
In the year ending 31 March 2017, we reported revenues of £5.1bn.
To find out more about us and what we do, go to openreach.co.uk.