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Superfast broadband switch on at Skylon Park

Superfast broadband is now available to hundreds of businesses in Hereford’s Enterprise Zone.

A collaboration between the Fastershire project and Hereford Enterprise Zone will bring fibre broadband to Rotherwas, transforming the internet speeds of companies on the business park.

But the delivery of the service, due to be switched on before the end of the month, is just the first stage of an extensive programme of broadband delivery and support for both existing businesses and those moving to the Enterprise Zone at Skylon Park.

One of the first businesses to benefit from the new service will be HR4 Ltd, which supplies project support services including safety management, specialist training courses, and technical authoring support to customers, including defence organisations, across the world.

Director Roger Peacock said: “We are a global business, delivering complex packages of support to companies and organisations here in the UK and overseas.

“We need fast upload and download speeds if we are to operate effectively on an international stage. Being able to access superfast broadband services will allow us to work more effectively with our consultants and clients wherever they are in the world and to use new technologies and working techniques to be even more productive and deliver an enhanced service to clients.” .

Bill Jackson, Chairman of the Hereford Enterprise Zone, said poor connectivity was a barrier to growth for businesses which needed to be able to access superfast broadband to compete on a national and global stage.

“Superfast broadband is a necessity for many businesses, regardless of the sectors in which they operate. Without it, they simply cannot compete because the playing field isn’t level. Working in partnership with Fastershire, a choice of internet service providers are now able to offer this huge benefit to businesses, with the first two cabinets becoming active this month.

 “This is just the first stage in developing a complete range of competitive connectivity services for Skylon Park which suit businesses of all sizes – from our dynamic and creative SMEs to the most technically advanced global research companies we have on site.

“We are planning a number of initiatives to promote the availability of superfast and ultrafast broadband in the coming months, including support to reduce the cost of providing connectivity for service providers , targeting ways to increase the demand for and supporting businesses to access advanced data services.”

The superfast broadband services delivered by the Fastershire project will suit many companies, but others may need more advanced ultrafast broadband services – giving even greater download and upload speeds. This will also be the focus of announcements from Fastershire and the Enterprise Zone within the coming months.

Councillor Graham Powell, Cabinet Member for Education and Infrastructure, Herefordshire Council, said: “I am delighted to see the first fibre cabinets go live on the Enterprise Zone.  This will enable both existing businesses benefit from the best broadband services and will attract new businesses to the site. Faster broadband is vital to businesses, not only enabling them to work faster and more efficiently, but also helping them to grow and compete in an international market place.”

“We are also helping rural businesses make sense of their broadband needs, and assisting them to exploit the opportunities that faster broadband offers through our CREATE project which will gather pace this year.”

Ian Binks, BT’s Partnership Director for the West Midlands, said: “The delivery of fibre broadband to the Hereford Enterprise Zone is an exciting milestone for the Fastershire project.

“Faster broadband speeds will give businesses on the site the opportunity to use tools that can improve how they work, meaning they could improve productivity while reducing costs. Businesses based in the Enterprise Zone will now have all the technological benefits of a city-based company while being able to enjoy the rural location.”

As well as superfast broadband, businesses moving on to Skylon Park benefit from business rate relief worth up to £275,000 per business over a five year period, as well as simplified planning processes and superfast broadband.

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