Rural homes and businesses to benefit from broadband upgrade

Over two million homes and businesses in England will benefit from faster broadband speeds, as part of the government’s £5bn Project Gigabit fund, which aims to upgrade digital infrastructure in rural areas.

Roll out plans revealed that up to 1.9m additional premises across 26 counties in England will get access to gigabit speed internet of 1,000 megabits per second, enough to download a HD movie in less than 30 seconds.

This brings the total number of premises in scope of government-funded coverage to 2.2m, with more to be announced in the coming months.

The government hopes this project will accelerate the country’s recovery from the pandemic, allowing growth in tech and creative industries and helping families to get the bandwidth speed they need.

white and brown cow on green grass field during daytime

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 rollouts 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 government is aiming to achieve at least 85% gigabit-capable UK coverage by 2025.

Almost half a million premises in Shropshire, Norfolk, Suffolk, Worcestershire, Hampshire, and the Isle of Wight will be among the first to benefit from the scheme, followed by other counties including Derbyshire, Wiltshire and Yorkshire.

The new follows the announcement of £24m of funding to roll out gigabit broadband in Northern Ireland, as well as the Scottish and Welsh governments and 15 English councils making at least an extra £26m available for top-ups in the UK government’s Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme, which covers the cost of gigabit connection in difficult to reach areas.

Chief secretary of the Treasury, Steve Barclay, said: ‘The pandemic has seen more services offered online and more businesses and consumers wanting to use online services, in particular from home. This announcement enabling over 2m homes to have the fastest internet services will make a real difference to those businesses and consumers wanting to maximise the benefits of digital services.’

In related news, a major government investment could create 2,000 new jobs in an effort to make Cardiff a global hub for media innovation and production.

Photo by Ian Cylkowski


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