Prime Minister announces lightning-fast broadband boost in rural Dorset.

Work begins on first major broadband upgrade under £5 billion Project Gigabit in Dorset.

The Prime Minister has announced a lightning-fast broadband boost for homes and businesses in rural Dorset, as new data shows gigabit broadband now available for 70% of UK homes and businesses.

The Prime Minister is in North Dorset today (30 August 2022) to see plans and preparations for how more than 7,000 hard-to-reach premises struggling with slow speeds will be connected under a £5 million contract awarded by the government. The first home will be connected by the end of the year, with an expected completion date for all by 2025.  The project will cover the rural outskirts of towns, villages and hamlets across the region from Sherborne to Verwood and Shaftesbury to Blandford Forum.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said:

“From Sherbourne to Stirling, lightning-fast broadband is levelling up towns and villages across the country.

“In just three years we have increased the coverage of gigabit broadband from seven per cent of households to 70%, and I am proud that today more than 20 million households, businesses and organisations are able to tap into rapid and reliable internet, unleashing their potential, creating opportunities and driving growth across the country.”

Digital Secretary Nadine Dorries said:

“Today we enter an exciting new phase of our £5 billion Project Gigabit digital connectivity programme by signing our first major contract in Dorset. Thousands of hard-to-reach homes and businesses in the region will get access to faster connections and join the 20 million properties we’ve helped connect over the last three years.

“The benefits of better broadband connectivity cannot be underestimated and this work will mean those living in rural areas can enjoy 21st century speeds in the home and workplace, making their lives easier and more productive.”

Dorchester Chamber Vice President Steve Bulley added:

“It is vital that a business can be run and managed from anywhere in the County and for too long our rural communities have been left behind. Our members will be pleased to hear about this investment allowing them to operate at the highest level locally, reducing their carbon footprint and stimulating growth.”

Gigabit broadband can provide speeds of more than 1,000 megabits per second, more than thirty times faster than copper-based superfast broadband, which is currently available to 97 per cent of UK premises. While superfast is fast enough for most people’s needs today, gigabit-capable connections will provide the speeds and reliability Britain needs for decades into the future.

It will enable anyone to start-up and run a business of any size from even the most remote areas of the UK.

More than 740,000 premises have been connected through government funding so far, mainly through extending the government’s Superfast programme to provide gigabit-capable connections, the Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme and initiatives to put public services in the digital fast lane by connecting hospitals, GP surgeries, libraries and other public buildings.

Today’s announcement for Dorset is the first large-scale scheme under Project Gigabit to deliver gigabit connections to a regional area en-masse. Millions of rural homes and businesses across the UK are in line for an upgrade thanks to dozens of these multi-million pound contracts, making Project Gigabit one of the largest national infrastructure projects of recent times.

Now the contract in Dorset has been awarded, the government will work with Wessex Internet and the local authority to begin planning the construction of the gigabit-capable network, with spades set to enter the ground in the coming weeks.

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Full gigabit article available here: Work begins on first major broadband upgrade under £5 billion Project Gigabit – GOV.UK (