The government has today launched Project Gigabit, its new £5 billion scheme to bring the fastest broadband on earth to hard to reach areas, announcing the first areas of England to get funding.
More than one million hard to reach homes and businesses will have next generation gigabit broadband brought to them in the first phase of this major new government infrastructure project.
Up to 510,000 homes and businesses in Cambridgeshire, Cornwall, Cumbria, Dorset, Durham, Essex, Northumberland, South Tyneside and Tees Valley will be the first to benefit.
Their available speeds will rocket to more than 1,000 megabits or one gigabit per second. Contracts for these first areas will go to tender in the spring with spades in the ground in the first half of 2022.
The government-funded projects will prioritise areas that currently have slow connections and which would otherwise have been left behind in broadband companies’ rollout plans.
Commenting, St Austell and Newquay’s Member of Parliament Steve Double said:
“Getting Cornwall better connected in all ways has always been a priority for me and I am pleased to see our Government again delivering with Project Gigabit, which will provide next generation gigabit broadband to hard to reach areas in Cornwall.”
“During the pandemic it has never been clearer how important it is to have decent broadband schemes for work and leisure and it is good to see the Government making this announcement today as we look to bounce back from COVID-19.”
“I look forward to seeing the detail of the allocation and will continue to do all I can to ensure people and businesses in Mid-Cornwall benefit from this rollout and future phases of this scheme.”
Gigabit broadband is being rolled out rapidly - from one in ten households in 2019 to almost two in five today. The UK is on track for one of the fastest rollouts in Europe and for half of all households to have access to gigabit speeds by the end of this year.
Project Gigabit will accelerate our recovery from covid, fire up high growth sectors like tech and the creative industries and level up the country, spreading wealth and creating jobs the breadth of Britain.
The successful Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme is also being relaunched with a £210 million cash injection to give people in eligible rural areas immediate financial help to get gigabit speeds.
On top of this the government is making up to £110 million available to connect public sector buildings - such as GP surgeries, libraries and schools - in the hardest to reach parts of the UK with this revolutionary infrastructure.