2 million more premises to benefit from £5bn gigabit broadband upgrade

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Almost two million more premises across rural parts of England will be plugged into superfast internet as part of the Government’s £5 billion gigabit upgrade plan.

The Culture Secretary has announced that a further 1.85 million additional premises across 26 English counties will get access to gigabit speed internet, equivalent to 1,000 megabits per second.

It comes after the first areas to benefit from the multibillion-pound broadband upgrade – a key part of the Prime Minister’s so-called levelling up agenda – were revealed in March, including Cornwall, Cumbria, Essex and Northumberland.

The speeds will allow users to download a HD movie in less than 30 seconds and lay the foundations for next-generation tech such as 8K-quality video streaming, according to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).

The investment is part of Boris Johnson’s target of achieving at least 85% gigabit-capable UK coverage by 2025, with officials stating that the Government is “on track” to meet the commitment.

As part of this second announcement, almost half a million premises in Shropshire, Norfolk, Suffolk, Worcestershire, Hampshire and the Isle of Wight will be among those to benefit, with work due to start in 2022.

Work will then be undertaken in counties including Derbyshire, Wiltshire, Gloucestershire, Lancashire, Surrey, Leicestershire, Warwickshire, Nottinghamshire, Hertfordshire, Staffordshire, Lincolnshire and Yorkshire.

Monday’s announcement takes the total number of houses, businesses and public facilities set to benefit to 2.2 million, the department said, with more areas expected to be announced.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said: “Project Gigabit is our national mission to level up rural areas by giving them the fastest internet speeds on the market.

“Millions more rural homes and businesses will now be lifted out of the digital slow lane thanks to our mammoth £5 billion investment and one of the quickest rollouts in Europe.