Two of Gloucestershire’s most poorly connected villages, Longney and Framilode, have gone from being among the worst connected regions in the UK to having the fastest internet in the country overnight, overtaking the likes of central London and New York City in terms of bandwidth.
This marks a significant milestone for 550 homes in the region, which have been connected to Gigaclear’s ultrafast broadband network this week. Surrounded by the River Severn and a canal, the villages had previously been avoided by broadband providers as they are extremely difficult to reach.
Installed as part of Gloucestershire County Council’s Fastershire project, the Gigaclear connection means residents have access to a full Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) internet service and speeds of up to 1Gbps. This is much faster than cities like London and New York, where speeds average anywhere between 10Mbps and 18Mbps .1
Until now Longney and Framilode residents had suffered from poor broadband, with speeds as low as 1Mbps. This made the simplest of tasks, such as checking emails or online shopping, nearly impossible. Both villages are several miles from the nearest supermarket and have a limited local bus service. With access to a much faster and reliable broadband, they can now take advantage of a whole new range of services online.
It will take less than one minute to download a two-and-a-half hour-long HD film – faster than microwaving the popcorn – while music can be downloaded at a rate of 23 songs every 1.6 seconds. Multiple smart devices, such as security systems and personal assistants, like Alexa, can be operated at once, while residents now also have the choice to work from home.
Peter Pentecost, Regional General Manager at Gigaclear, said: “We’re passionate about empowering communities by giving even the most remote homes and businesses access to brilliant broadband, with Longney and Framilode perfect examples of this. Families living in these two villages had given up on the possibility of a stable and efficient broadband connection after being considered too remote by other broadband companies. We’re proud to have gone above and beyond to get them live this week, which we’re certain will revolutionise their lives.”
The connection was all made possible when Gigaclear became the first broadband provider to drill under the River Severn in a significant feat of civil engineering. In collaboration with Gloucestershire-based contractor, Complete Utilities, a directional drill was used to lay the fibre cable 13 metres under the ground, and five meters below the river itself. This allowed the fibre cable to be pulled under the river and then back through, providing the broadband source on the Longney and Framilode side of the river.
The work has been carried out as part of stage 3 of Gloucestershire County Council’s Fastershire broadband project with Gigaclear, which will give more than 70,000 homes and businesses in Gloucestershire and Herefordshire access to a new ultrafast network.
Councillor Patrick Molyneux, Cabinet Member for Economy, Education and Skills and responsible for Fastershire, said: “The availably of new ultrafast broadband will be welcome news for home and businesses and a wonderful boost for these communities.
“The scale of Severn crossing illustrates how difficult it is to reach rural areas. Fastershire’s investment in faster broadband means that more of the harder to reach parts of Gloucestershire will be able benefit from faster broadband and make the county a better place to live and work.”