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Thu September 16 2021

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Plans announced for £5bn rural broadband upgrade

2 Aug The government has announced that almost two million rural homes and businesses in England are to benefit from a £5bn upgrade to broadband services.

It has unveiled roll-out plans for 26 counties including Yorkshire, Staffordshire and Kent as part of Project Gigabit. The latest upgrades follow announcements earlier this year for Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

New details published today show that 1,850,000 additional premises across 26 English counties will get access to ‘gigabit speed’ internet of 1,000 megabits per second - enough to download a HD movie in less than 30 seconds.

It 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.

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.

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“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.”

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 latest announcement follows a raft of Project Gigabit updates for all four UK nations, including £24m to roll out gigabit broadband in ten local authority areas in Northern Ireland, 234,000 homes and businesses in Wales being confirmed as in scope to receive upgrades through the programme, and £4.5m for central Scotland.

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