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02/08/2021

Project Gigabit to bring superfast broadband to rural communities

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The government has announced an investment of £5 billion into Project Gigabit to level up internet access across England.

The government says this project will upgrade digital infrastructure in hard-to-reach areas and “accelerate the country’s recovery from Covid, fire up high-growth sectors such as tech and the creative industries, put an end to families battling for bandwidth and bring the speed and reliability people need to start and run businesses”.

Up to 1,850,000 additional premises across 26 English counties will get access to 1,000 megabits per second, bringing the current total number of premises in scope for government-funded coverage to 2.2 million.

Digital secretary Oliver Dowden said: “Project Gigabit is our national mission to level up rural areas by giving them the fastest internet speeds on the market.

“Millions more rural homes and businesses will now be lifted out of the digital slow lane thanks to our mammoth £5 billion investment and one the quickest roll-outs in Europe.

“This broadband revolution will create jobs, power up businesses and allow everyone to access vital services at lightning-fast speed, helping us build back better from the pandemic.”

The first projects are due to start from May 2022, covering 349,000 premises in Essex, Dorset, Cumbria, Cambridgeshire, Northumberland, Durham, Tyneside, Teesside and Cornwall. More areas will be announced later this year. 

As part of Project Gigabit, £24 million has been allocated to 10 local authority areas in Northern Ireland to roll out gigabit broadband; 234,000 homes and businesses in Wales are set to receive upgrades through the programme; and £4.5 million will help thousands in central Scotland get next-generation connections, according to the UK Government.

Image credit | iStock

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