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Engineers overcome challenges to bring faster fibre broadband to another 1,300 homes and businesses in Ross-on-Wye – on behalf of the Fastershire project

Engineers working to deliver faster fibre broadband across Herefordshire have overcome technical challenges to enable around 1,300 more homes and businesses in the heart of Ross-on-Wye to benefit from the ambitious Fastershire programme, partners Herefordshire Council and BT announced today.

This follows months of planning and extra engineering work because these latest homes and businesses are served by ‘exchange only’ lines not connected to the main communications network using the usual road-side cabinets. A large number of premises in Herefordshire are served by ‘exchange only’ lines adding to the complexity of the roll-out.

Connecting these latest premises has involved more than 140 extra days of work by engineers from Openreach, BT’s local network business, who have had to lay hundreds of metres of additional fibre optic cable as well as installing new fibre road-side cabinets – over and above the work that is normally carried out to bring fibre broadband to an area.

Councillor Graham Powell of Herefordshire Council, said: “This is great news for the community of Ross where we see the continued delivery of faster broadband across the county in our towns and rural areas. We know faster broadband is important to people for work and everyday life and we encourage people to take up the fibre service now available.” 

Ian Binks, BT’s regional director for the West Midlands, said: “The Fastershire broadband roll-out is a very complex and challenging engineering programme, but it’s progressing well.

“This stage has been particularly involved and often very time-consuming. Because of the way these particular Ross-on-Wye premises are connected to the main network, we’ve had to use a variety of solutions to enable these homes and businesses to access fibre broadband for the first time.

“And these challenges are not unique to this beautiful market town – it’s a common situation across rural Herefordshire. But our teams have the expertise to deal with these sorts of issues. We will be able to employ the techniques used successfully in Ross-on-Wye elsewhere in the county when the need arises to enable even more people to benefit from high-speed fibre broadband.”

In total more than 6,500 homes and businesses in Ross-on-Wye can now order fibre broadband from their chosen service provider. When an area has gone live, Herefordshire homes and businesses will be able to access download speeds of up to 80 megabits per second (Mbps) and upload speeds of up to 20Mbps.* In some areas, where fibre is connected direct to a home or business, download speeds can be as high as 330Mbps.* The upgrades do not happen automatically – local people have to choose to upgrade. Because the Openreach network is ‘open’, residents and businesses have a wide choice of companies offering fibre broadband, with more than 140 providers currently operating across the UK, ensuring competitive prices.

Residents and businesses can follow the progress of the roll-out via the Fastershire website: www.fastershire.com, Fastershire’s Facebook page: facebook.com/Fastershire or on twitter: @Fastershire.

The £56.6 million Fastershire project is a partnership between Herefordshire Council, Gloucestershire County Council, BT and the Government’s Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) programme. The project is well on track to reach 20,000 premises in Herefordshire with fibre broadband by the end of the summer. Building on the work of the private sector, it aims to make faster, fibre broadband available to around 90 per cent of Herefordshire homes and businesses by the end of 2016.

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