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4G for Gloucester and Cheltenham by Christmas and broadband upgrade for Forest of Dean

By The Citizen  |  Posted: December 04, 2013

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SMARTPHONE users in Gloucester are set to get 4G by Christmas.

The service, which speeds up mobile phone, laptop and tablet broadband connectivity by up to five times over the current 3G, will be switched on in the city before December 25.

And Coleford residents will be able to download much quicker thanks to superfast broadband coming to the Forest of Dean town.

Mobile network giant EE will bring Gloucester and Cheltenham's residents and businesses superfast 4G mobile internet but no exact date has been set yet.

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EE is the only 4G mobile network which will be available in Gloucestershire and is already available in Bristol.

Steve Bee, who works at Cellphones in Southgate Street, Gloucester, welcomed the news.

"It will make a huge difference," he said. "But only as long as you have a 4G-ready phone and you're not locked into a 3G contract."

Another mobile phone shop operator in the city centre, who did not wish to be named, welcomed the news with a note of caution.

"Once it's up and running it should be fine," he said. "But if you have a 3G phone you could be looking at having to upgrade and that is likely to cost more."

Steve Tucker, regional manager for EE Gloucestershire, said: "The arrival of 4G mobile in Gloucestershire is great news for our customers. 4G from EE is like having fibre broadband to your mobile and allows customers to access the content they care about without the frustration of pages being slow to load or apps not connecting."

The EE stores in Gloucester and Cheltenham offer residents and businesses mobile and fibre broadband services from EE, Orange and T-Mobile.

Meanwhile, fibre broadband is set to arrive in Coleford, marking a key milestone as the first rural community in Gloucestershire to get the opportunity to make the switch to faster fibre broadband this week.

It is part of the county's multi-million pound Fastershire project, giving 5,000 residents and businesses the chance to take advantage of the new technology once the roll-out is completed in the coming months.

"It will make a difference, if you have the right machine," said Peter Hilgart, owner of Coleford Computers shop.

"You should be able to download files, which might have taken hours, in minutes.

"For businesses it will be a great help, including us, as we should be able to download updates and drivers very much more quickly."

Coleford is the first rural community in Gloucestershire to have access to the new fibre broadband network, with a scheduled roll-out across the county to follow as part of the £56.6million Fastershire project.

It is run by a partnership between Gloucestershire County Council, Herefordshire Council and BT, with additional funding from the Government's Broadband Delivery UK programme.

More communities are expected to go live by the end of the year including Cinderford, Drybrook and Lydbrook and Lechlade.

People can check the Fastershire website to see whether it's available for them by logging on to fastershire.com.

Gloucestershire County Council leader Mark Hawthorne said: "This is great news for Coleford.

"Faster broadband will give local people a wealth of new opportunities, whether in accessing local services or seeking out education and training opportunities.

"For businesses, it offers the potential to expand, create jobs, and work more efficiently."

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