Herefordshire Council’s broadband delivery project, Fastershire, has been shortlisted for the Connected Britain Awards 2018.

The inaugural awards aim to recognise the innovation and achievement of those companies who are at the forefront of Britain’s digital transformation.

Fastershire, one of the first pilot broadband projects, was created in partnership with Gloucestershire County Council to overcome commercial market failure to provide access to faster broadband and has been shortlisted for the Superfast award.

According to the figures issued by Think Broadband, the UK’s largest independent broadband information website, 85% of the county’s homes and businesses are now able to access superfast broadband speeds, compared to only 0.6% of properties in 2012.

Fastershire is also leading the way in the deployment of the new optimum fibre technology, fibre to the premise (FTTP), with 13% of properties able to access ultrafast broadband, four times higher than the national average.

Councillor David Harlow, Herefordshire Council Cabinet Member for Economy and Communications and responsible for Fastershire, said: “It’s a great achievement for Fastershire to be recognised on a national level.

Herefordshire had one of the lowest rates of superfast coverage before the council took the initiative to create Fastershire and the county also posed some unique challenges for infrastructure deployment.”

A great deal has already been achieved and over the next two years, phase two of the project will increase total superfast coverage to 98%, and, importantly, will see 30% of properties access the new full fibre technology.”

Phase two of the Fastershire rollout sees BT continuing to deliver for Fastershire in Cheltenham, Gloucester and Hereford, while in rural areas Gigaclear will build a new full fibre network and provide access to ultrafast broadband.

For remaining, hardest to reach properties, Fastershire is using a mix of solutions, including bespoke grants to local businesses, and significant property clusters or possible contract extensions with BT and Gigaclear for any remaining properties.

The Connected Britain Awards 2018 forms part of an annual conference that will discuss future telecoms and broadband connectivity needs and is due to be held in London on June 19th and 20th.