Millions of rural homes and businesses across the UK are set for a significant speed upgrade in their broadband networks, the government has revealed.
The latest stage of Project Gigabit will see 2.2m homes and business in England receive a speed boost as part of the government's £5.5bn investment into the nation's network infrastructure.
26 counties, including areas in Yorkshire, Staffordshire and Kent, will see the network upgrades to gigabit-speed capabilities, which the government says will help "level up internet access across the UK".
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Almost half a million (480,000) premises in Shropshire, Norfolk, Suffolk, Worcestershire, Hampshire and the Isle of Wight will be among the first to benefit followed by counties including Derbyshire, Wiltshire, Gloucestershire, Lancashire, Surrey, Leicestershire, Warwickshire, Nottinghamshire, Hertfordshire, Staffordshire, Lincolnshire and Yorkshire.
The government notes that the news means the UK is also on track for the fastest rollout in Europe this year, with 60% of all households able to get access to gigabit speeds by the end of 2021.
"Project Gigabit is our national mission to level up rural areas by giving them the fastest internet speeds on the market," said Digital Secretary Oliver Dowden.
"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 the quickest rollouts in Europe. This broadband revolution will create jobs, power up businesses and allow everyone to access vital services at lightning fast speed, helping us build back better from the pandemic."
Project Gigabit kicked into action in March 2021, providing vital upgrades to several regions across the UK.
The vast majority of the UK’s broadband infrastructure is delivered by fibre the cabinet (FTTC) technology that uses copper for the final few metres of a connection, but the industry and the government are now shifting towards a ‘fibre-by-default’ approach.
The Conservative manifesto ahead of the 2019 General Election promised nationwide fibre to the premise (FTTP) coverage by 2025 but the government has since backtracked and revised this target to 85%. It will also only provide £1.2 billion of £5 billion in promised funding during this Parliament.
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Mike Moore is Deputy Editor at TechRadar Pro. He has worked as a B2B and B2C tech journalist for nearly a decade, including at one of the UK's leading national newspapers and fellow Future title ITProPortal, and when he's not keeping track of all the latest enterprise and workplace trends, can most likely be found watching, following or taking part in some kind of sport.