Over 90% of Herefordshire properties can now access superfast broadband

Herefordshire Council’s Fastershire project and Worcester-based broadband network supplier, Airband, are celebrating reaching the 1000 premises milestone under their rollout of fibre broadband in Herefordshire.

As part of the project’s stage 4 rollout, Airband is deploying a brand new Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) connection to properties in hard-to-reach areas of the county – providing much needed faster broadband access to over 3,000 properties.

Airband began creating its fibre broadband network across Herefordshire in Tedstone Wafre in March 2019. Fastershire and Airband celebrated the milestone at an historic community pub, The Boot Inn in Orleton, which will have a free connection as part of Airband’s ongoing commitment to the communities it works in.

Despite having to battle excessive flooding and high winds, Airband is due to complete its fibre network in Brimfield by the end of this month, providing connectivity to a total of 1783 premises.

The rollout is funded by Herefordshire Council and the Rural Broadband Infrastructure Scheme and managed by the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs using the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE). 

Councillor Trish Marsh said she was delighted with the progress: 

“Creating better connectivity in rural areas is vital not just to bridge the digital divide, but also to enable businesses to grow.

“Over 90% of Herefordshire properties can now access superfast broadband. The rollout with Airband is increasing access even further and helping the county to lead the way in coverage of new full fibre broadband technology.”

Airband project manager for the Marches, Martin Cumming, said work was nearly complete on the third and final fibre cluster in the area.

“This has been our first large-scale fibre network and it has been a fantastic project to work on. Reaching remote areas always throws up lots of challenges – we’ve worked really hard to be adaptable and flexible in design and deployment to overcome weather conditions and also to make sure that we minimise any disruption to local roads.

“We’re nearing the end of infrastructure works in Leintwardine area, which we anticipate will be live by the end of February 2020. This network will provide fibre connectivity to an extra 847 premises, making the total reach of the project 2630 premises,” he said.

As part of its fibre rollout, Airband provides free broadband connections to selected community hubs such as village halls. The Boot Inn in Orleton is a community-owned pub and will be receiving a free Airband connection. This with the pub’s one-year anniversary since the local community clubbed together successfully to buy it as a community-owned resource.

John Alderman, Chair of The Community Boot Inn Limited (CBIL) described Airband’s work in the area as a “great example of a tech firm doing its best for a community it works in.”

“We’ve just won a £2k grant from The Pub is the Hub organisation, which has enabled us to invest in equipment to create an IT hub in the pub, and with the support of Fastershire’s ‘Go Online’ grant we plan to offer a programme of IT courses here,” explained Mr Alderman. “It’s so rewarding to see how much we have achieved in just one year, and hopefully having better connectivity and access to an IT hub will also open up opportunities for the less IT-savvy in our community.”

For more information about your broadband, visit www.fastershire.com and use the address checker.