UK government launches Project Gigabit to bring fibre across the UK | Infrastructure | News | Rapid TV News
By continuing to use this site you consent to the use of cookies on your device as described in our privacy policy unless you have disabled them. You can change your cookie settings at any time but parts of our site will not function correctly without them. [Close]
Aiming to deliver next generation gigabit fibre broadband to more than a million homes and businesses in what are regarded as hard to reach places in the country, the UK government has unveiled the first phase of Project Gigabit a £5 billion infrastructure scheme.
Fibre optic cable 24Nov 2020
The UK government claims that Project Gigabit will accelerate the country’s recovery from Covid, fire up high growth sectors like tech and the creative industries and level up the country, spreading wealth and creating jobs the breadth of Britain. It adds that the projects that it funds will prioritise areas that currently have slow connections and which would otherwise have been left behind in broadband companies’ full-fibre rollout plans.

Project Gigabit will begin by connecting up to 510,000 homes and businesses in Cambridgeshire, Cornwall, Cumbria, Dorset, Durham, Essex, Northumberland, South Tyneside and Tees Valley. Contracts for these first areas will go to tender in the spring with spades in the ground in the first half of 2022. In June the government expects to announce the next procurements to connect up to 640,000 premises in Norfolk, Shropshire, Suffolk, Worcestershire, Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.

At the same time the UK government has relaunched its Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme with up to £210 million to give people in eligible rural areas immediate financial help to get gigabit speeds. On top of this the government said it was making up to £110 million available to connect public sector buildings - such as GP surgeries, libraries and schools - in the hardest to reach parts of the UK with gigabit fibre infrastructure.

“Project Gigabit is our national mission to plug in and power up every corner of the UK and get us gigafit for the future,” commented UK Digital Secretary Oliver Dowden. “We have already made rapid progress, with almost 40% of homes and businesses now able to access next-generation gigabit speeds, compared [with] just 9% in 2019. Now we are setting out our plans to invest £5 billion in remote and rural areas so that no one is left behind by the connectivity revolution. That means no more battling over the bandwidth, more freedom to live and work anywhere in the country, and tens of thousands of new jobs created as we deliver a game-changing infrastructure upgrade.”

In order to address the most remote areas in the UK, locations that it conceded may actually be too expensive to build a gigabit-capable broadband network to, even with substantial public subsidy, the UK government has also issued a call for evidence to explore the barriers to improving their broadband and how innovative communications technologies might help change this. Addressing the needs of people in such places could lead to the government encouraging industry to use new wireless equipment, low-orbit satellites or high-altitude platforms to beam faster connections to far-flung homes and businesses.