The Herefordshire County Council in England has confirmed that its new state aid supported contract (Phase 2) with Gigaclear will help to put ultrafast Fibre-to-the-Premise (FTTP/H) broadband technology within reach of an additional 8,000 homes and businesses in the region.
The agreement, which forms one half of a major new contract with both the Herefordshire and Gloucestershire councils’ as part of the local Fastershire scheme, was officially confirmed during February 2017 but at the time the details had yet to be finalised (here).
The deal for Lots 3c, 3d, 3e and 4 (see below) will involve public funding of up of £5.14m from Gloucestershire County Council and £7.56m from Herefordshire Council, while Gigaclear is expected to contribute up to £29.2m of private investment.
However, today’s announcement of 8,000 premises only reflects the Herefordshire side of this deal and details on the rest should follow soon.
Leader for Herefordshire Council, Tony Johnson, said:
“This is a major step forward, not only will more communities and businesses have access to fast and reliable internet, but Fastershire is starting to lead the UK in rollout of full fibre. We’re committed to ensuring that Herefordshire has a broadband network that will benefit the county for many years to come.”
Joe Frost from Gigaclear said:
“We are delighted to be continuing our partnership with Herefordshire Council, connecting more than 8,000 additional homes and businesses to our ultrafast pure fibre network.
Work is due to start this summer and there is no doubt that this will continue to be socially and economically transformative for the most isolated, rural areas of Herefordshire.”
Separately Gigaclear already holds the contracts to roll-out their ultrafast FTTP network to 6,495 premises in the Cotswolds area, as well as 2,600 in the Forest of Dean (Gloucestershire) and Golden Valley (Herefordshire).
Meanwhile the two remaining contract lots (Lot 3a – Cheltenham and Gloucester + Lot 3b – Hereford) have yet to be assigned to a supplier due to the need for some additional checks, although today’s announcement suggests that a deal for at least Lot 3b could be confirmed during June 2017.
This new rollout will build on what has already been achieved, with over 30,000 extra premises in the county able to access a superfast broadband service, which is largely thanks to the initial FTTC / VDSL2 (up to 80Mbps) dominated deployment contract with Openreach (BT).
Unusually the later deals seem much more focused on pushing ultrafast FTTP services into rural areas, which will make them faster than many local urban and suburban locations.