The government has announced plans to expand the rollout of broadband infrastructure to bring Gigabit internet speeds to some of the UK’s more remote communities.
Starting next year, homes and businesses in Cambridgeshire, Cornwall, Cumbria, Dorset, Durham, Essex, Northumberland, South Tyneside and Tees Valley will be the first to benefit from the significant investment.
As part of a £5bn project that aims to bring Gigabit speeds to 85% of UK by 2025, the areas to follow the initial wave are expected to be Norfolk, Shropshire, Suffolk, Worcestershire, Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.
The government says that 40% of the country now has access to Gigabit speeds, which is up from around 9% in 2019. Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Oliver Dowden says the aim is to get to 60% by the end of 2021. Then it’ll be over to some of the less populous areas in 2022.
In an interview with the BBC, Dowden said: “We’ve already made tremendous progress with Project Gigabit – our national mission to get everyone in the country the fastest broadband on the planet. The challenge is the last 20%, which can’t be delivered commercially – and that’s what our plans being outlined today are all about.”
Related: Best router
The Secretary of State said the government still wants to achieve greater than the 85% target by 2025 and will work with telecoms companies to ensure the right resources are in place to build out the capacity. The plans are part of the government’s plans to ‘level up’ the UK economy so, you know, it’s not just London and a few conservative strongholds that receive all of the benefits for a change. Of course, once the broadband speeds are available, it’ll still be up to UK homeowners and tenants to pay the inflated rates for the top speeds, so a little more levelling up might be necessary to bring that to fruition.