The Borders Broadband project covers Herefordshire and Gloucestershire and is one of four national pilot projects to address the challenge of poor broadband coverage in rural areas.
Delivery of broadband to the rural areas will open up opportunities for business, creating jobs and providing a lifeline to many residents.
Councillor Graham Powell, Cabinet Member for Education & Infrastructure, Herefordshire Council, said: “The ‘need for speed’ is increasing, and as services such as video or TV on demand and video conferencing become more popular then access to superfast broadband becomes vital.
“This project, along with commercial improvements to the network, should see 88% of homes and business within our county having access to speeds of 30Mbps and above. We are building a network for the future and investing in technology that will future proof our county.
“Without this investment we would be in danger of falling into the digital divide, which would have a negative impact on our ability to generate economic growth.”
The councils will now continue negotiations with the single bidder in the final stage of the procurement process. The proposed contract covers the design, build and operation of a wholesale broadband network across both counties.
The network will be used by any number of independent internet service providers (ISPs) who would then offer a range of retail broadband packages to the consumer.