One million premises upgraded to high-speed broadband by government schemes

More than one million homes, businesses and public buildings can now access high-speed broadband as a result of UK government schemes to rollout faster broadband.

New data released today shows 1,006,800 homes and businesses have been connected, or are able to access, a better broadband connection through UK government-funded programmes since the first upgrade was delivered in August 2012.

The majority of these premises are in hard-to-reach rural locations, where residents and businesses previously would have struggled to perform basic online including banking online, or participating in work video calls.

The million premises includes 5,300 public buildings such as schools, libraries, hospitals, police stations, and council offices. The upgrades have helped boost productivity in public services and create better experiences for those who use them, while encouraging broadband companies to extend the network to surrounding homes and businesses.

The UK government has signed more than £77 million worth of Project Gigabit contracts to connect around 32,400 rural premises across Gloucestershire, West and parts of North Yorkshire.

Michelle Donelan, the technology secretary, said, “Achieving a million gigabit-ready premises shows our plan to turbocharge British broadband is working. Thanks to our investment, rural communities held back by achingly slow internet can now tap into the best speeds on the market.

“The UK is rolling out gigabit networks faster than any country in the EU, with 8 in 10 premises now able to access upgrades. It is a track record that shows we are rapidly building the infrastructure Britain needs to improve lives and grow the economy.”

To mark the milestone, Technology Secretary Michelle Donelan is visiting the rural town of Wooler in Northumberland on Thursday (22 Feb) to see the impact of the government’s rollout.

She will meet an entrepreneur who launched a successful hotel business as a result of the upgrades, as well as firms and employees who say the broadband boost has helped improve their productivity.

The UK is also delivering high-speed connectivity using satellite technology through the ‘very hard to reach alpha trials’. These trials are testing the extent to which low Earth orbit (LEO) satellites can be used to deliver high-speed low latency broadband connections to areas which are typically beyond the building capability of internet service providers.