Half a million rural homes added to Project Gigabit plans

The government has outlined locations across Cheshire, Devon, Dorset, Somerset, Essex, Herefordshire, Gloucestershire, Lincolnshire, East Riding and North Yorkshire that are in line to benefit from Project Gigabit. The locations cover an estimated 567,000 premises, with the majority of the gigabit-capable connections to be delivered through full fibre broadband cables.

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

In Scotland 3,600 premises in Aberdeenshire, Angus, the Highlands, Moray and Perth & Kinross will get access to much faster gigabit speeds through to an additional £8 million in funding, with more premises across Scotland due to be announced in the months ahead.

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 Scottish premises were due to get access to superfast broadband through the Reaching 100% (R100) programme, a Scottish Government initiative which aims to deliver connections capable of 30 megabits per second to every home and business in Scotland. This additional funding, agreed between the UK and Scottish governments, means these locations will be connected to gigabit-capable broadband instead.

These projects are part of the government’s ambition to deliver gigabit-capable broadband to at least 85 per cent of the UK by 2025. The UK is currently at 57 per cent gigabit coverage, up from less than six per cent in 2019.