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A scheme to significantly boost the availability of superfast broadband in Gloucestershire and Herefordshire - dubbed the 'Fastershire' project - has taken its next step, with thousands of premises set to be passed this spring.

Since the first upgrades were unveiled in July last year, engineers have installed more than 165km of fibre optic cable, which has involved moving more than 250 tonnes of earth and pouring 115 tonnes of concrete.

Now, the next phase of the £56.6 million project - which aims to make fibre to the cabinet or fibre to the premises services available to around 90 per cent of homes and businesses in Herefordshire and Gloucestershire by the end of 2016 - is set to begin.

This spring, upgrades will pass premises in Gorsley, How Caple, Llangarron, Much Marcle and Symonds Yat, which is set to significantly boost internet access for consumers and businesses in the region and help the project to hit its overall target of reaching 148,000 premises in the area.

It comes after the announcement that the £35.44 million e-Sussex project is set to entre the third phase of its rollout programme.

The scheme aims to make BT’s superfast FTTC/P technology available to 99 per cent of East Sussex premises by mid-2016 and phase 1 has already been rolled out, with phase 2 due to start connecting customers during the autumn and phase 3 following in late 2014 or early 2015.

Under the third batch of rollouts, Alfriston, Barcombe, East Dean, Glynde, Isfield, Plumpton, Ringmer and Ripe will all benefit from access to services.

The most notable addition is Isfield, which is the only exchange in East Sussex that cannot currently provide broadband and is only capable of dial up, and so the new access is set to have a significant effect on hundreds of business and consumers in the region.

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