Residents and businesses in Gloucestershire are being invited to contribute to a major survey of broadband availability across the county.
The survey is being undertaken by independent researchers at the Royal Agricultural University (RAU) as part of the evaluation of the impact of superfast fibre broadband in Gloucestershire and Herefordshire due to be published in 2017.
The survey will be live until the end of November and the responses will directly feed into to the Fastershire project. The results will also help demonstrate the level of demand in communities that are yet to benefit from the Fastershire rollout and help raise their profile for better broadband with potential suppliers.
The survey takes around 5 minutes to complete, with questions relating to how residents and businesses currently use broadband and internet services and where better broadband services are required.
The Fastershire project began in December 2012, and has so far brought access to faster connections over 30Mbps to thousands of rural premises in the county.
In phase one of the project, Gloucestershire County Council invested £7.5m, matched funded by central government, through a contract with BT to improve faster broadband speeds across the county.
Phase two of the project sees faster broadband extend even further with an additional £6.2m, match funded by central government, being invested by the authority.
The second phase has already started in some areas, with Gigaclear targeting over 6,500 additional homes and businesses, upgrading speeds specifically in the Cotswolds.
The council has also agreed a £500,000 investment to be match funded by Cotswold District Council to extend phase two even further.
Cllr Mark Hawthorne, leader of Gloucestershire County Council, said: “So far around 80,000 thousand premises in the county have benefitted from Fastershire. We want as many of those people as possible to take part in the survey.
“It will help us to know what impact the Fastershire roll out has had on those that are already benefitting from superfast broadband in Gloucestershire.
“More importantly, it will give an opportunity to those communities in the county that have not yet got access to have their say.”
Fastershire is in the process of tendering a second phase of rollout valued at £20m that will see faster broadband extend further across the both counties. The results of the survey will be presented to prospective suppliers and could help influence which areas they target in their bids.
To complete the survey, please visit – www.broadband-feedback.com.