Department for Science, Innovation & Technology
Over £1 billion awarded to roll out lightning-fast broadband in hard to reach towns and villages
UK Government has signed £1 billion in contracts to connect around 677,000 rural homes and businesses to lightning-fast full fibre.
- UK Government has now signed £1 billion in contracts to upgrade broadband infrastructure in rural communities through its Project Gigabit programme
- Milestone means suppliers are working to connect around 677,000 rural homes and businesses to lightning-fast full fibre across England
- Comes as six new contracts are signed to connect hundreds of thousands of hard-to-reach premises
The government’s rollout of next-generation broadband is steaming ahead with around £1.1 billion in contracts now signed to connect 677,000 rural homes and businesses across England.
Project Gigabit is a flagship programme to connect hard-to-reach areas which, without government intervention, would miss out on the industry’s rollout of faster, more reliable ‘gigabit-capable’ broadband.
Six new contracts worth more than £450 million have been announced today (6 February), allowing suppliers to immediately begin detailed surveying work to connect around 236,000 premises across England, with the first premises expected to be connected in early 2025.
Five of these latest contracts will be delivered by broadband provider CityFibre, serving rural communities in Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire, Berkshire, Leicestershire, Warwickshire, Sussex, Kent, Bedfordshire, Northamptonshire and Milton Keynes. A further contract to upgrade premises in Nottinghamshire and West Lincolnshire has been awarded to Hull-based supplier Connexin.
Full fibre is capable of delivering speeds of up to 1,000 megabits (or one gigabit) per second - up to 30 times faster than superfast connections which rely on traditional copper cables. The upgrades will help grow the economy, create jobs and deliver long-term change for a brighter future by making it easier to set up a business, and giving rural communities access to networks designed to meet people’s needs for decades to come as the demand for fast connections continue to rise. Gigabit speeds mean households can download a high-definition film in under one minute, stream and download entertainment and shop online across several different devices at once.
Data and Digital Infrastructure Minister Julia Lopez said:
We’re wasting no time in our mission to bring lightning-fast broadband to rural areas - with a billion pounds in contracts already signed with broadband companies to get our next-generation network up and running.
Project Gigabit is already driving growth, creating jobs and putting an end to snail’s pace internet speeds, and we will continue to work rapidly to ensure people feel the benefits of our rollout to even more places across the UK as quickly as possible.
Greg Mesch, Chief Executive Officer at CityFibre, said:
We’re thrilled to be a key delivery partner for the government on this critical infrastructure project, transforming the digital capabilities of rural homes and businesses across the country. But that’s just the start. We’re continuing to expand our commercial rollout alongside Project Gigabit, extending infrastructure choice, multi-gigabit speeds, and unparalleled reliability to hundreds of thousands of additional premises in these regions.
Furqan Alamgir, CEO at Connexin said:
Through the award of this contract, we are delighted to be able to play our part in the UK government’s mission to level up and bring gigabit connectivity to our rural communities.
At Connexin our mission is not just about connecting people but also about how such connectivity can improve lives. We believe that everyone has the right to the same opportunities, and we firmly believe in digital inclusion and what it can unlock.
We look forward to working with BDUK to future proof the infrastructure and bring hyperfast broadband to the region.
As a result of this investment, CityFibre has committed to offer 40 apprenticeships - a minimum of eight per year - across the UK in telecoms and highways maintenance for the duration of the contract, giving young people the chance to develop vital new skills and build a rewarding career. It comes as the country marks National Apprenticeship Week, a government-led campaign celebrating the impact apprentices make to communities, businesses, and the wider economy.
Connexin has also committed support to community initiatives such as volunteering charitable hours and will provide career mentoring and apprenticeship programmes to a diverse range of candidates in these local communities.
The UK is building gigabit networks faster than any country in the EU, thanks in part to government measures to stimulate competition and bust barriers to rollout. Last month the government announced that gigabit coverage had reached 80 per cent of the UK, up from just 6 per cent in 2019, and the UK is on track to achieve 85 per cent by 2025.
Notes to Editors
Table: Value of each new contract and expected number of premises to be connected. For simplicity, all lot numbers above have been subject to rounding with totals based on the rounding of actuals.
|Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire and E Berks
|Leicestershire and Warwickshire
|East and West Sussex
|Bedfordshire, Northamptonshire and Milton Keynes
|Nottinghamshire and West Lincolnshire
Latest News from
Department for Science, Innovation & Technology
Australia and the United Kingdom join forces to advance online safety and security21/02/2024 14:10:00
Memorandum of Understanding to help amplify the world class online safety regimes of both countries.
Gen Z offered doubled salary prospects through no-skills-required tech bootcamps20/02/2024 13:10:00
Science and Technology Secretary Michelle Donelan launches new push for career-transforming Skills Bootcamps.
AI Opportunity Forum holds first meeting16/02/2024 12:10:00
Technology Secretary Michelle Donelan and the Prime Minister’s Special Adviser on Business and Investment have co-chaired first meeting of AI Opportunity Forum.
State-of-the-Art Weather Centre Headquarters Given Go-ahead15/02/2024 16:25:00
Planning permission has been granted to develop a new headquarters for the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts at the University of Reading.
UK and EU science chiefs urge British researchers and businesses work together with European colleagues through Horizon, and apply for grants to boost jobs, growth and scientific breakthroughs12/02/2024 16:10:00
European Commissioner for research joins UK Science and Technology Secretary to make joint commitment to maximising UK Horizon Europe success.
Biotech driving medical breakthroughs and cuts to red tape lead major science and tech package to spark UK innovation and growth09/02/2024 13:10:00
Science and Technology Secretary Michelle Donelan set out the importance of the UK’s mission to be a science and technology superpower.
UK research investment to boost UK semiconductor industry07/02/2024 16:05:00
Two new ‘Innovation and Knowledge Centres’ will receive £11 million each to help bring new chip technologies to market.
AI Fairness Innovation Challenge winners announced07/02/2024 11:10:00
Four winning projects to support AI firms working in higher education, healthcare, finance, and recruitment under the Government's AI Fairness Challenge.