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Gloucestershire Business News

Fastershire targeting more broadband connections across county

The plan to bring ultrafast broadband to rural properties across Gloucestershire has expanded its target to 75,000.

Fastershire has connected 30,000 homes and businesses since it was launched in 2015 and an expanded network design now includes more properties than the original target of 70,000.

A partnership between Gloucestershire County Council, Herefordshire Council and internet service provider Gigaclear, Fastershire is scheduled to be completed in September 2022, increasing coverage in the county to an estimated 97 per cent.

Work has continued where safe during the coronavirus pandemic with the revised network design altering anticipated delivery timings for some communities.

Councillor Patrick Molyneux, cabinet member for economy, education and skills at Gloucestershire County Council said: "The importance of fast and reliable broadband has never been more relevant than it has during these unprecedented times.

"While any delays are hugely frustrating to those, like myself, who are still waiting for access, we must not lose sight that so much has already been achieved."

Councillor Patrick Molyneux

He continued: "Fastershire has already helped to increase access to superfast broadband coverage to more than 95 per cent of homes and businesses in the county.

"With Fastershire and Gigaclear's rollout of new full fibre broadband expanded to reach an additional 5,000 properties, a large proportion of which will be in communities in and around the Forest of Dean, including Blakeney Hill, Newnham and Hewelsfield Common.

"This will genuinely transform rural areas for generations to come."

Gigaclear regional general manager Peter Pentecost admits the change in delivery times may be disappointed to some area.

He said: "We are really pleased to be able to build to more properties in Gloucestershire, and to bring delivery dates forward for some communities.

"We do understand that for those communities where the delivery timings have moved back this will be deeply frustrating, and we appreciate you bearing with us."

He said the change of dates had been made to accommodate additional contractor resources, including more properties and ensuring connected properties go live as they are connected.

"We are taking action to increase the speed of delivery," he said. "We have spent the last year expanding our team in the region, opening a new office in Gloucester and vastly growing our operational and delivery teams.

"And we have made changes to some of the network designs to ensure we are building our network in the most efficient way possible."

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