Next phase announced in UK rural broadband upgrade programme | Infrastructure | News | Rapid TV News
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Up to 2.2 million homes and businesses in rural England have been earmarked for to receive the opportunity to get top-of-the-range broadband connections as part of the £5 billion Project Gigabit programme.
Community Fibre 6 May 2021
Project Gigabit is designed to fund upgrades in digital infrastructure in so called hard-to-reach areas and bring the speed and reliability people need to start and run businesses and enjoy high-end online entertainment services.

The latest part of the programme is designed to see up to 1,850,000 additional premises across 26 English counties - including Yorkshire, Staffordshire and Kent - get access to gigabit speed internet of gigabit broadband and have the capability, said the Government, to download a HD film in less than 30 seconds and lay the foundations for next-generation tech such as 8K-quality video streaming. Almost half a million (480,000) premises in Shropshire, Norfolk, Suffolk, Worcestershire, Hampshire and the Isle of Wight will be among the first to benefit followed by counties including Derbyshire, Wiltshire, Gloucestershire, Lancashire, Surrey, Leicestershire, Warwickshire, Nottinghamshire, Hertfordshire, Staffordshire, Lincolnshire and Yorkshire.

The move is part of the UK government’s target of achieving at least 85% gigabit-capable UK coverage by 2025, and ministers assert that they are “ready to go as fast as broadband companies can manage.” The UK government claims that the UK is on track for the fastest rollout in Europe this year and for 60% of all households to have access to gigabit speeds by the end of this year.

The new development also brings the current total number of premises in scope for government-funded coverage to 2.2 million, with more still to be announced over the coming months across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. This is in addition to the tens of millions of premises that broadband firms such as Openreach, Virgin Media and the rapidly growing altnet sector are connecting through their own commercial rollout programme, which has seen gigabit coverage grow from one in ten households in 2019 to more than two in five today.

Just as the Project Gigabit development new was being announced, the Scottish and Welsh governments and 15 English councils have made at least an extra £26 million available in top-ups to the UK Government’s Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme. The scheme, which is available nationwide, covers the costs of a gigabit connection in areas that are particularly difficult to reach, and the top-ups boost the financial help available