Broadband boost for 380,000 rural premises as UK Government investment reaches £1.3 billion

Thousands of remote homes and businesses to benefit from lightning-fast broadband as new figures show a record £714 million invested in the broadband rollout so far this year

  • A record £714 million committed to boosting rural broadband coverage in 2024 brings total investment in next-generation connection to £1.3 billion

  • Nearly 380,000 homes and businesses, including in Devon and The Isles of Scilly, are set to benefit from the contracts awarded this year alone

  • £165 million announced today to connect properties across England, including Yorkshire and Cornwall

Hundreds of thousands of remote homes and businesses across the country will be able to benefit from lightning-fast broadband, as new figures show a record £714 million has been invested in the broadband rollout so far this year.

New data published today reveals that since the start of 2024, the UK Government is boosting access to fast and reliable internet at an unprecedented speed, putting nearly 380,000 rural premises in line to access a better broadband connection.

The upgrades will give rural communities access to the fastest internet on the market, helping to grow the economy. Households will be able to download high-definition films in under one minute, stream and download entertainment and shop online across several devices at once. Full fibre broadband will also make it easier for rural residents to set up businesses, increasing local productivity and delivering long-term growth for a brighter future.

Areas set to benefit include Yorkshire, The Isles of Scilly and Dorset, with the funding forming part of the UK Government’s flagship £5 billion Project Gigabit programme.

The funding brings the total invested so far to £1.3 billion. Nearly 82% of properties across the country can now access lightning-fast broadband, up from just 7% this time five years ago.

It comes as the UK continues to rollout Gigabit broadband faster than any other EU nation, ensuring everyone, no matter where they live or work, can thrive in the 21st century.

Minister for Data and Digital Julia Lopez said:

"Connectivity has never been more important for people and businesses. It is increasingly the enabler for so many services that we rely on every day, from using maps to doing business.

"The figures published today demonstrate just how rapidly we are getting higher quality, gigabit broadband to every part of the country - even some of our most remote, rural areas.

"Whether that be to a business on the coast of Cornwall or the hills of the Peak District, patchy and poor connection should never be a barrier to economic growth or somebody’s life chances."

As part of this year’s investment, the UK Government has today also announced £165 million in contracts to build full fibre networks in areas spanning South Yorkshire, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, Herefordshire, the Forest of Dean, the Peak District, Dorset and Somerset*.

Almost 90,000 premises are set to benefit from the contracts, with full fibre connections capable of delivering speeds of up to 1,000 megabits per second. This is up to 30 times faster than superfast connections relying on traditional copper cables.

Over one million rural homes, businesses and public buildings have already been upgraded to gigabit-capable networks thanks to UK Government investment.

Properties connected through Project Gigabit are in hard-to-reach rural locations, where residents and businesses previously would have struggled to perform basic online tasks because of poor and patchy connection.

On top of this, the Government has awarded separate contracts to connect up to 800 primary schools in England, jointly funded through Project Gigabit and the Department for Education. The Schools Gigabit Connectivity Project will help students and teachers access the latest digital technology in education.

Read the latest update on Project Gigabit here.

*Six new contracts have been announced today (10 April), to connect around 88,600 rural premises. These include:

  • South Yorkshire: Quickline awarded £44 million to connect 32,100 premises

  • West Herefordshire and the Forest of Dean: FullFibre awarded £23 million to connect 7,900 premises

  • Peak District: FullFibre awarded £10 million to connect 4,400 premises

  • Dorset and South Somerset: Wessex Internet awarded £33 million to connect 21,400 premises

  • Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly: Wildanet awarded £41 million to connect 16,800 premises

  • Mid West Shropshire: Voneus awarded £12 million to connect 6,000 premises

From: Building Digital UK, Department for Science, Innovation and Technology, and Julia Lopez MP