Herefordshire and Gloucestershire which are operating under the Borders Broadband project is apparently close to deciding who will win the contract to improve broadband coverage and speeds in the area, and should benefit around 234,000 homes and businesses.
The project has currently £35.4m of public money, but until the details of the commercial bidder are published it will not be clear what the total investment will be in the area. This is higher than originally thought as an extra £4m was allocated to the area by the BDUK, which has been matched by the local authority.
The ambitions for the area are to go beyond the classical 2015 deadline, with the standard aims of 2 Mbps to all for 2015, and superfast to as close as 90% in the same time frame. The extended aim is looking to further work running all the way till 2018, with the aim of getting a superfast service to as close to 100% of properties as possible.
In theory those in the area can get updates through the websites www.herefordshire.gov.uk/broadband and www.gfirstbroadband.co.uk. The Herefordshire site is running on the beta gov.uk platform and seems to have bits still missing, and the Gloucestershire site is sparse on recent updates. There are some details from the demand survey's ran in the area, which with 5,960 responses for Gloucestershire reveals that only 22% of homes get speeds of 5 Mbps or faster, 23% experienced 1 Mbps or slower and a massive 83% were not satisfied with their connection at home. As the demand survey's tend to only receive interest from those with poor broadband the outcome may over state the problem, but it probably does show the scale of work needed to improve things outside of the areas where commercial operators like Virgin Media and BT are deploying their own superfast networks currently. The picture with regards to speeds and the survey is different for Herefordshire, with a more normal 1 in 10 experiencing speeds below 1 Mbps.