UK government announces another burst of rural broadband funding

£165 million has been announced by the government today to hook up more rural UK premises with fibre broadband, bringing the total investment this year to £714 million.

Andrew Wooden

April 10, 2024

2 Min Read

Today’s announced £165 million pot will go towards contracts to build full fibre networks in areas in South Yorkshire, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, Herefordshire, the Forest of Dean, the Peak District, Dorset and Somerset. 

Almost 90,000 premises are set to benefit from the contracts which will deliver full fibre connections capable of delivering speeds of up to 1,000 megabits per second, says the release.   

The funding is part of the UK Government’s £5 billion Project Gigabit programme, designed to hook up properties in hard-to-reach rural locations The total amount invested so far is £1.3 billion, £714 million of which was made this year.

The Government has also awarded separate contracts to connect up to 800 primary schools in England, jointly funded through Project Gigabit and the Department for Education.

“Connectivity has never been more important for people and businesses. It is increasingly becoming the enabler for so many services that we rely on every day, from using maps to doing business,” said Minister for Data and Digital Julia Lopez. “The figures published today demonstrate how rapidly we are delivering higher quality gigabit broadband to every part of the country – even some of the most remote rural areas. Whether that be for a business on the coast of Cornwall or the hills of the Peak District, patchy and poor connection should never be a barrier to economic growth or somebody’s life chances.” 

Commenting on the announcement, Kevin Monaghan, Chief Commercial Officer of Complete Technology Group said: “The Government is, of course , right to invest further in ensuring rural areas have access high-speed broadband. But the return on investment is what counts – can contracts be fulfilled, and will the funding make a significant impact in boosting digital connectivity across the UK.

 “A balance must also be struck between rural and urban areas; it’s easy to assume that efforts must be focused on the former to connect hard-to-reach places, but there remain major issues in urban areas where swathes of people still live without reliable broadband. The difficult economic conditions of the past four years – a pandemic, cost-of-living crisis and interest rates spike – have exacerbated the issue, resulting in building works and digital infrastructure projects stalling.”

Nearly 82% of properties across the country can now access ‘lightning-fast broadband’, up from 7% this time five years ago, and the UK is rolling out gigabit broadband faster than any other EU nation, so says today’s release.

About the Author(s)

Andrew Wooden

Andrew joins on the back of an extensive career in tech journalism and content strategy.

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