Publishing Date: Feb 07, 2024

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About 97,000 homes in seven counties will benefit from “lightning fast” broadband as part of a £5bn project, the government has said.

Contracts worth £181m will bring faster speeds to Bedfordshire, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire, Leicestershire, Northamptonshire and Warwickshire.

Ministers said Project Gigabit would give households access to speeds of 1,000Mbps (megabits per second).

Work could start this summer.

Internet speeds across the UK average about 73Mbps.

The government said it wanted 85% of the population to have access to gigabit broadband by 2025, with the whole country benefiting from the same speed by 2030.

Commercial companies were expected to deliver the necessary upgrades to much of the UK, but the target cannot be hit without government intervention in “hard-to-reach” areas.

The speed of the project's delivery had been criticised by the Rural Services Network.

Some of the areas included in Project Gigabit:

  • Bedfordshire: Millbrook and Haynes
  • Berkshire: Areas around Maidenhead and Windsor
  • Buckinghamshire: Bow Brickhill and Stoke Goldington
  • Hertfordshire: areas around Hertsmere, Hitchin and Harpenden
  • Leicestershire: Bosworth and Charnwood
  • Northamptonshire: Ecton and Greatworth,
  • Warwickshire: Kenilworth and Rugby

The independent provider, CityFibre, will be installing the new services.

The Data and Digital Infrastructure Minister Julia Lopez said: “The possibilities for economic growth are endless, with next-generation connections to hard-to-reach parts of these counties being established soon.

Mike Hallam, Conservative councillor from West Northamptonshire Council, said: “It will provide significant benefits to local businesses and residents to help improve their internet connectivity.

Labour councillor Pete Marland, leader of Milton Keynes City Council, said: “Milton Keynes is pleased that the reach of full fibre broadband will be further extended through this new contract and effective joint working between Milton Keynes City Council and the new supplier.

We look forward to more residents and businesses being able to obtain ultra-fast broadband services and all the economic and social benefits new fibre infrastructure will provide

The Labour party has committed to allowing the project to continue if it wins the next election.


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