Gloucestershire gets faster broadband – but don’t be mistaken for thinking it’s all superfast

RURAL BROADBAND

On 20 December, Gloucestershire County Council’s cabinet will be asked to approve a plan for the rollout of broadband to properties that have not yet got superfast speeds.

After eight years and £30 million of investment, Fastershire says it has delivered more than 95 per cent superfast coverage across Gloucestershire. That’s more than 324,000 premises.

Fastershire is a partnership between Herefordshire Council and Gloucestershire County Council to bring faster broadband to the two counties, with funding from central government’s Broadband Delivery UK matched by the local authorities. The ultimate aim is that by the end of 2019/20 there will be access to fast broadband for all who need it.

Plans have now been developed for the remaining three per cent of properties that don’t yet have superfast broadband.

But residents and businesses in some areas which the Fastershire website boasts fast broadband might be forgiven for not realising this, as in some areas of the county, broadband providers are not providing the service advertised on the Fastershire website.

In other areas of Gloucestershire, the project has been particularly successful in the rollout of the full fibre technology, particularly in the Cotswolds which now has the fastest average download speed of anywhere in the UK. The project’s current rollout contract with Gigaclear is delivering the same ultrafast network connection to thousands more properties across the county. The revised approach outlines how this will become the norm for the whole county within the next three years.

The new plans will have a greater focus on offering grants to local communities to buy their own, tailor made broadband solutions from a selected range of suppliers.

Gloucestershire Councillor Patrick Molyneux said “The Fastershire project has been incredibly successful so far and the vast majority of homes and businesses are already benefiting from the project’s investment.

“We are determined to ensure residents in Gloucestershire have access to superfast broadband and want to transform broadband access, making Gloucestershire one of the best connected areas in the country. The new Fastershire strategy outlines how we aim to extend this further to ensure even our hardest to reach properties benefit”.