THE £90million contract for the second phase of a superfast broadband roll-out project in Gloucestershire and Herefordshire has been awarded to a Gloucester-based firm.

Complete Utilities has been handed the contract by Gigaclear to connect 70,000 more homes across the two counties over the next three years.

The Fastershire project involves connecting an additional 173 telecommunications cabinets to the network and is run as a partnership between Gloucestershire County Council and Herefordshire Council which fund it along with central government.

Brett Shepherd, Gigaclear’s chief operating officer, said: “Having successfully worked with Complete Utilities in Fastershire over the past two years, we’re really delighted to be strengthening and extending our partnership with them.

“The innovative construction methods they have proposed will put us at the forefront of the industry, enabling us to deliver our broadband network more efficiently and with minimal disruption to local communities.”

Complete Utilities will use ‘narrow trenching’, a construction technique which involves laying multi-way connections giving homes and businesses access to the network.

By reducing the size of trenches, the method is cheaper and quicker to utilise.

Steve Chaplin, Complete Utilities managing director, said: “As a business based in rural Gloucestershire ourselves, we take great pride in playing such a key role in the delivery of a completely new broadband network in the area.

“We’re also really pleased to have an opportunity to demonstrate the positive impact that the latest methodologies will have on the future of network delivery in the UK.

“Combined with our rapid reinstatement process, we’ll be able to work more quickly, reduce waste and cut costs, resulting in a win-win for local communities, local authorities and our commercial partners.”