Over the last 7 years, Conservatives in Government and on the County Council have been working to help improve rural broadband speeds in the Forest of Dean and across Gloucestershire.
Rural areas have historically missed out on fast broadband speeds, left behind by telecoms companies when investing in new infrastructure, with their focus on larger towns and cities. This is why in 2010, Conservatives in Government began the work to improve broadband connectivity in areas like the Forest of Dean, making Government funding available to improve broadband roll-out.
The Fastershire project – a joint scheme between Gloucestershire & Herefordshire County Councils – has helped to deliver this in practice. Phase 1 of the roll-out promised to deliver faster broadband to the majority of homes and businesses. Anyone receiving a less than 2Mbps (the current ‘Universal Service Commitment’) is eligible for consideration of Government funding under the ‘Better Broadband Scheme’ – details are available at: http://www.fastershire.com/
This has been a massive improvement for many around the Forest. Coleford was one of the first areas in the County to benefit from the new fibre broadband roll-out, with other areas still being improved. My local connection speeds went up from slow, dial-up levels to speeds matching the cities after roll-out.
Across the Forest, superfast broadband is now available in over 21,000 more homes and businesses thanks to the County Council, and Government funding. There is still much more to be done. Superfast broadband will be available for about 80% of households in the Forest by the end of the year, Phase 2 of the roll-out seeks to improve speeds across the country to at least 10Mbps by 2021 – quick enough to download a half-hour TV show in two minutes.
Gloucestershire County Council have recommended awarding the contract for Phase 2 rollouts to Gigaclear – a company who have already delivered ultrafast broadband through their full fibre network to over 6,500 homes and businesses in the Cotswolds. The experience that they have of delivery in a rural area means I am excited to hear their plans for the Forest of Dean.
Conservatives on the County Council and in Government are working together to ensure that we have a country that works for everyone, and a digital infrastructure fit for the 21st century.
More details on our local scheme, and how it affects you, are available at: http://www.fastershire.com/