There is good news for millions of UK homes and businesses. The Government has launched a new £5bn infrastructural programme - ‘Project Gigabit’.
This will allow more than one million hard to reach homes and businesses to have next-generation gigabit built to them.
The first cohort of homes and businesses to benefit from this project will be in Cambridgeshire, Cornwall, Cumbria, Dorset, Durham, Essex, Northumberland, South Tyneside, and Tees Valley.
Buildings in these regions will have their broadband speed increased to more than 1,000 megabits (1 gigabit) per second. This infrastructural improvement will benefit families sharing a weak bandwidth, as well as those living in remote areas to live and work with greater flexibility.
It is expected the contracts will be available to tender from spring 2021, and physical work to begin in early 2022.
From June, the Government will begin to announce the plans for the next phase of the project, which will involve connecting 640,000 homes and businesses in Norfolk, Shropshire, Suffolk, Worcestershire, Hampshire, and the Isle of Wight.
These areas which currently experience poor bandwidth speeds have been prioritised as it is said there is potential for them to be left behind in broadband companies' roll out plans.
‘Project Gigabit’ is part of a wider gigabit broadband roll-out plan. In 2019 only 1 in 10 premises had this superfast connection, today it is estimated 2 in 5. With the progress already made, the UK is due to have to fastest roll out in Europe. Half of all households are due to have gigabit speeds by the end of 2021.
This scheme will aid in the country’s economic recovery in a post covid climate. Providing great growth opportunity for tech and creative industries, amongst others. It will also spread wealth and job opportunities across the whole country.
The Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme is being relaunched due to previous success; it will make available £210 million for those in rural areas in financial support to reduce barriers in accessing gigabit speeds.
Along with this, there will be £110 million set aside to benefit the connection of public sector buildings such as libraries, schools and GP surgeries.
Digital Secretary Oliver Dowden said:
“Project Gigabit is our national mission to plug in and power up every corner of the UK and get us gigafit for the future.
We have already made rapid progress, with almost 40 percent of homes and businesses now able to access next-generation gigabit speeds, compared to just 9 percent 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.”
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