Hopefully you will recall that we recently outlined plans to secure more funding from the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) to extend superfast broadband to those not currently in plan for delivery under phase 1 or phase 2 of the Fastershire project.
By looking at the current planned delivery under these two phases we were able to identify 22 property ‘clusters’ in Herefordshire that could, were Fastershire able to engage a supplier or suppliers, use this funding to provide superfast broadband
However knowing that the funding may not be enough to cover all of these clusters, it was important that we had evidence of demand to add to the data we already have to help allocate this funding fairly by ranking the areas in order of need, demand and potential.
As part of this process we wrote to every premise in each cluster to explain the situation, and how they can help us to understand the likely demand for superfast broadband by completing a survey or taking up a business review.
We have now reviewed the responses to the survey and used this alongside other data we hold to differentiate the clusters. EAFRD funds are awarded based on the economic impact they will have and therefore the clusters have been ranked on the basis of the number of different criteria, such as;
- Number of businesses
- Number of employees in those businesses
- Existing fibre speed
- Number of full time job prospects relating from investment
- Cumulative turnover of businesses
- Number of qualifying properties
- Percentage of qualifying properties located in Local Super Output Areas (LSOA) that are in the bottom 10% of LSOAs in relevant county in regard to access to services
- % of qualifying properties located in public transport cold spots
- % of qualifying properties located in postcodes linked to demographic types B, C, D, I, J or O
- % of businesses located in business rate paying properties which have undertaken a FasterBusiness Review
- % of qualifying properties that would take a service were it available
- Number of farms
- % of qualifying properties responding to the online survey
- % of farms responding to the Rural Hub Online Survey
- % of home workers located in non-business rate paying properties
As the funding is finite, this ranking will be used to target the funding at those clusters which rank the highest. Please find below the 15 cluster areas in rank order:
||Richards Castle Little Hereford
||Whitchurch Symonds Yat
||South Kington Hergest
||Mordiford Holme Lacy Fownhope
||Hom Green Glewstone
||Cannon Frome Bosbury
||St Weonards Three Ashes
Although the clusters have been given indicative locality names, the full list of premises identified in each cluster should be used for a fuller understanding of coverage. These were sent to you in August this year, but if you wish to have the premise lists sent again for any specific areas please email firstname.lastname@example.org . The status of individual premises can also be found by using our address checker on www.fastershire.com
What happens next?
As outlined above the EAFRD funding may not be sufficient to cover every cluster, so funding will be initially be targeted at those clusters in the top ten, but we hope to extend funding further down the ranking. For any unsuccessful clusters, businesses can still apply for the one of our business broadband grants www.fastershire.com/business-grant, and for residents we will consider looking at the costs / benefits of bringing other areas into our existing contracts.
We have started the process of engaging suppliers in bidding for contracts to cover as many clusters as possible. This process consists of conducting a new Open Market Review to ensure that none of the properties identified are now included in commercial plans, followed by an industry consultation on the structure of the areas. It is hoped this part of the process will be complete early next year and this will give us a much clearer picture on whether we can cover more clusters than just the top ten. For those cluster areas that are successful we hope to award a contract/s in the Spring 2018. We will provide you with an update on the process early in the New Year.
Finally, we have now published the rollout timescales for the phase 2 deployment being delivered by Gigaclear. Individual premises can now use the address checker on www.fastershire.com to see when work will start in their area.
Fastershire Broadband Project
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