UK govt commits to better broadband for 500,000 more rural premises

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The UK’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) have committed to the provision of better broadband for 570,000 more rural premises via the £5bn Project Gigabit scheme.

These hard-to-reach premises span across Cheshire, Devon, Dorset, Somerset, Essex, Herefordshire, Gloucestershire, Lincolnshire, East Riding and North Yorkshire and the department said that most of the gigabit-capable connections will be delivered through full fibre broadband cables. 

This follows the Budget announcement that Scotland would see 3,600 premises in Aberdeenshire, Angus, the Highlands, Moray and Perth & Kinross gain access to faster gigabit speeds due to an £8m cash injection. The government said that it had already announced a number of measures to bring better broadband to Wales and Northern Ireland. In Wales up to 234,000 hard-to-reach premises have been revealed as in-scope for an upgrade through Project Gigabit, and in Northern Ireland the government has invested £150 million through Project Stratum to level up areas with slow speeds.

Digital Secretary Nadine Dorries said: ‘The latest stage of our £5 billion Project Gigabit plan will help hard-to-reach homes and businesses out of the broadband slow lane and plug them into the fastest and most reliable connections available. This investment is levelling up in action - building new internet connections in our rural communities so people have the speed, reliability and freedom to live and work flexibly, and take advantage of new technologies.’

The projects will help the government deliver its target for at least 85 per cent of the UK to have access to a gigabit-capable connection by 2025. The UK has hit 57 per cent gigabit coverage, up from less than six per cent in 2019.

The specific locations to benefit in the areas will be named when the contracts to deliver the connections are out to tender. 

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