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Southrop joins Fastershire as six further communities get set for Spring switch-on

Press Release   •   Feb 25, 2014 00:00 GMT

Southrop is the latest community to join Fastershire, with the first homes and businesses now able to connect to a new fibre broadband network.

The Gloucestershire village can now start to take advantage of the high-speed technology and another six communities in the county are set join them this spring as the £56.6 million Fastershire project, now in its second year, gathers pace.

Following Southrop, parts of Drybrook are expected to go live in the coming weeks and premises in Bourton-on-the-Water, Gorsley, Kemble, Poulton and St Briavels are also due to go live during the spring as the project continues to extend faster broadband to those areas in Gloucestershire and Herefordshire not covered by commercial roll-out plans.

The faster broadband has already been made available in Cinderford, Coleford, Coln St Aldwyn, Fairford, Kempsford, Lydbrook and Whitecroft. More than 10,000 homes and businesses now have access to the network in these areas and work is continuing in to connect even more premises over the coming weeks and months.

So far, throughout the Gloucestershire and Herefordshire project area, engineers have walked around 300km to undertake vital surveys, laid more than165 kilometres of fibre cable, moved more than 250 tonnes of earth and poured around 115 tonnes of concrete to make faster broadband a reality.

Cllr Mark Hawthorne, Leader of Gloucestershire County Council, said: “This is fantastic news for our County. The Fastershire project is really beginning to gather pace, and residents and businesses are starting to benefit from investment in this vital infrastructure.

“Many more homes and businesses will start to benefit over the next two years, and communities and businesses alike will be able to use the new network to grow and prosper.”

Bill Murphy, managing director of next generation networks for BT, said: “There is still a long way to go, but we are getting there and this is an exciting time for people in the Fastershire area.

“This project will have a hugely positive impact on rural as well as urban communities in Gloucestershire with fibre broadband providing a whole range of opportunities for households and businesses.”

Fastershire, a partnership between Gloucestershire County Council, Herefordshire Council and BT, with additional funding from the Government’s Broadband Delivery UK programme, aims to take fibre broadband to around 90 per cent of premises in Gloucestershire by the end of 2015.

The project is building on BT’s own commercial roll-out, which has already made fibre broadband available to 139,000 homes and businesses in Gloucestershire, rising to 145,000 once the commercial roll-out is completed.

Openreach’s network is open to communications providers on an equal basis, so people in Southrop can order the service they want from a range of fibre broadband providers to enjoy a far superior internet experience.

It will also boost the competitiveness of local businesses, helping them to find new customers and operate more efficiently, while opening up a host of new learning and development opportunities for households.

More detailed information on the roll-out is available at the Fastershire website, www.fastershire.com.

ENDS

Notes to editors

When adding the contract area to BT’s own commercial roll-out, this will deliver access to fibre broadband to 90% of premises across Gloucestershire.

Openreach provides external CPs (Communications Providers) with a variety of ways in which they can offer fibre broadband to their customers. These include an ‘active’ product – GEA – which comes in various speed combinations and a ‘passive’ product – PIA – whereby CPs can lay their own fibre via our ducts and poles if they want greater control over the service they offer.

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:
• £780m to extend superfast broadband to 95% of the UK by 2017
• £150m to provide high speed broadband to businesses in 22 cities
• £150m to improve quality and coverage of mobile phone and basic data network services
Administered on behalf of Government by Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK), Superfast Britain is transforming Britain by promoting growth, enabling skills and learning, and improving quality of life. For further information:https://www.gov.uk/broadband-delivery-uk

Issued by Gloucestershire County Council and the BT regional press office. Call 01452 425391 or email keith.coles@gloucestershire.gov.uk.
For the BT press office call the 24-hour number 0800 085 0660.