Herefordshire Council’s broadband initiative, Fastershire has secured funding to provide superfast broadband access for some of the most remote properties in the county.
The first of its kind in the UK, Fastershire will use over £5m of funding from the Rural Broadband Infrastructure Scheme to provide access to 10 dispersed clusters of premises spread across the county. The scheme is managed by the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs using the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE).
In addition to Fastershire’s existing contracts with BT and Gigaclear, Airband have been selected by Fastershire to deliver a highly innovative hybrid solution, called Rural Optic. This will see fibre to the premise served from a microwave backhaul which is capable of delivering broadband speeds of 100mbps and more to consumers. The microwave element will remove a major cost barrier and will allow some of the most remote properties in the county to be reached.
Councillor David Harlow, Cabinet member for economy and communications at Herefordshire Council said, “This is another significant milestone for Herefordshire. Currently 85% of Herefordshire can already access superfast broadband as a result of phase 1 of the project and over the next two years, phase 2 will increase superfast coverage to 98%.
As more properties gain access to faster broadband the remaining hardest to reach premises will require increasingly more innovative and bespoke solutions like this. We are doing everything possible to extend access as far as we can, including through the use of EU funding currently available, either through this RDPE funding or our ERDF business grants.”
One business set to benefit from this new rollout is M Lloyd Engineering, in Stansbatch, who manufacture and export screening machinery globally.
Matthew Lloyd said “80% percent of our business goes abroad and this means communications are absolutely essential. Fast, reliable broadband will save us time and money, enabling us to provide real time tutorials to customers as far afield as the US and Korea and will allow us to utilise a range of new methods of working.
Rural Affairs Minister Lord Gardiner said, “It is excellent to see more rural areas such as Herefordshire benefiting from connections to fast and reliable broadband. Rural areas should not be left behind in the connectivity slow lane, missing out on the opportunities high speed broadband can bring. Thousands of residents and businesses in Herefordshire will benefit.
The funding made available through the Rural Broadband Infrastructure Scheme champions our countryside communities and businesses by opening up access to broadband in some of the hardest-to-reach areas.”
To find out if your property can already access faster broadband or where your property sits in the Fastershire rollout, visit www.fastershire.com and use the address checker.
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