The Government has announced the first areas of the UK which will benefit from ultra-fast broadband.
Five billion pound will be invested in broadband upgrades across the UK as part of the Project Gigabit scheme, with work to start in 2022. However, only £1.2b billion will be made available up to 2024.
The announcement comes after the Government had to go back on its initial 2019 election pledge of providing the UK with full-fibre broadband by 2025, instead announcing last November that they plan to aim for at least 85 per cent by this date.
Which areas of the UK will receive ultra-fast broadband first?
As many as 510,000 homes and businesses that have broadband will be at the front of the queue to receive an upgrade, including those in Cambridgeshire, Cornwall, Cumbria, Dorset, Durham, Essex, Northumberland, South Tyneside and Tees Valley.
Norfolk, Shropshire, Suffolk, Worcestershire, Hampshire and the Isle of Wight are then set to follow in June, which will cover a further 640,000 premises.
Firms will be able to bid for contracts on the project from spring, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) said.
Regulator Ofcom has also announced that it will not impose price caps on full-fibre connections provided by firms, as part of new rules.
Alongside this, £210 million worth of vouchers will be available from April 8 in order to allow eligible residents to ask for up to £1,500, and businesses up to £3,500, to put towards the cost of installing gigabit-capable broadband.
Some £110 million has also been set aside to support GP surgeries, libraries and schools.
‘This broadband revolution will fire up people’s businesses and homes’
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “Project Gigabit is the rocket boost that we need to get lightning-fast broadband to all areas of the country.
“This broadband revolution will fire up people’s businesses and homes, and the vital public services that we all rely on, so we can continue to level up and build back better from this pandemic.”
Digital Secretary Oliver Dowden also said: “Project Gigabit is our national mission to plug in and power up every corner of the UK and get us gigafit for the future.”