Rome wasn't built in a day, and Gazette readers will be as delighted as I am at the news that full fibre optic broadband is coming to Ross-on-Wye. And the digital transformation of Herefordshire that began in 2010 continues elsewhere across the county as well.
I have had confirmation from the Fastershire broadband team at Herefordshire Council that a deal has been done with Full Fibre Ltd to begin full fibre roll-out in Ross. As their name implies, they will bring full fibre broadband initially to local businesses in the Alton Road area and, if that goes well, to much if not all of the rest of the town.
The deal means that the roll-out has enough critical mass to justify the public funding involved. The £125,000 project is supported partly through Fastershire by Herefordshire Council, and partly by the European Regional Development Fund, in what must be one of its final grants given that the U.K. has now left the EU.
I know it has taken a lot of hard work to get to this stage for Ross and everyone involved deserves our thanks. But this is only part of a much wider picture of next generation broadband delivery across the county.
Over the last six months the digital network operator ITS has expanded its Faster Britain network to cover Rotherwas and the Herefordshire Enterprise Zone, providing fast and reliable gigabit-speed connectivity. In Hereford itself, with the kind support of the Cathedral, Openreach have now installed new switching at the bottom of Broad Street, which will I hope have a dramatic effect on the often poor connectivity in the centre of the city.
And the independent broadband provider Zzooom has now chosen Hereford to install its new full fibre network and is busily recruiting early customers.
Meanwhile, there is good news too in the Golden Valley, where broadband rollout has so far been patchy and subject to delay. A further contract with Gigaclear means that they can bring full fibre to more of our most rural and dispersed areas. Fastershire are also looking at new ways to reach people's homes and businesses by linking communities and fibre suppliers to create bespoke solutions through community grants.
Full fibre will be a crucial part of our future development, in Ross and across the county. To find out more, or to see if you can register for the community grant, do visit www.fastershire.comhttp://www.fastershire.com.