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Hereford businesses are quick to reap the benefits of faster fibre broadband - on behalf of the Fastershire project

Companies on the outskirts of Hereford say the arrival of high-speed fibre broadband is transforming the way they do business and making them more competitive.

Around 200 firms at Rotherwas Industrial Estate can now access the technology thanks to the Fastershire roll-out of faster fibre broadband, partners Herefordshire Council and BT announced today.

Businesses opting for an upgrade will be able to get download speeds of up to 80 megabits per second and uploads of up to 20Mpbs.

Among the first to take advantage was computer repair specialists, IT-Repairs.

The company, which needs to share huge amounts of data with customers on a daily basis, said upgrading to fibre broadband has increased their productivity so much that they are now looking to expand the services they offer.

Within the past few weeks their broadband download speeds have leapt from three Mbps to 78Mbps, while their upload speeds have also increased significantly from less than one Mbps to nearly 20Mbps.

Richard Cuthbertson, managing director of IT-Repairs, said: “We’ve gone from walking pace to almost lightning speed, and as result we’ve been able to offer a more diverse range of internet services.

“In the past, because our broadband was so slow we sometimes had to use couriers to transport data. Now we can compete on an equal footing with larger companies based in towns and cities from our rural location.”

Impact Print & Design Ltd (IPD), a commercial graphic design and printing business, which also needs to share large amounts of information, has been similarly boosted by the arrival of faster fibre broadband.

Martin Perry, managing director of IPD, said: “Having faster fibre broadband saves us and our customers an enormous amount of time – and frustration. We can send and receive large files almost instantaneously, and our web conferencing services run far more smoothly.

“Now we’re on the same playing field as any company – whether they are in London, Birmingham or any other major city anywhere in the world.”

Herefordshire Councillor Graham Powell said: “Faster fibre broadband is a necessity for many businesses, whatever their industry, in order to remain competitive.

“As companies in Rotherwas are quickly finding out, it can help businesses to work faster and more efficiently, create more jobs and opportunities for growth and expansion, as well as to reduce the need to travel and provide stronger levels of security.”

Mike Cook, BT’s regional director for the West Midlands, said: “Fastershire is a huge engineering undertaking, but we’re on course to reach more than 20,000 homes and businesses in Herefordshire by the end of the Summer.

“This will take the total number of premises across the county able to access faster fibre broadband to around 55,000 as a result of the Fastershire roll-out and private sector investments.”

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

The £56 million Fastershire project is a partnership between Herefordshire Council, Gloucestershire County Council, BT and the Government’s Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) programme. It aims to make faster, fibre broadband to 90 per cent of Herefordshire premises by the end of 2016.