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Rural homes and businesses across the East Midlands will get next-generation gigabit broadband built to them under a £5 billion plan to level up internet access across the UK.

New details published today from Project Gigabit, a government scheme to upgrade broadband infrastructure in hard-to-reach areas, reveals that up to 366,000 rural homes and businesses in the region and surrounding areas are in line to be connected to lightning-fast speeds.

This is in addition to commercial providers’ roll out which is seeing gigabit broadband being deployed rapidly across the country - from one in ten households in the UK in 2019 to more than two in five today. The country is also on track for one of the fastest rollouts in Europe and for 60 per cent of all households to have access to gigabit speeds by the end of this year.

The Project Gigabit programme targets properties that would otherwise have been left behind in broadband companies’ rollout plans, prioritising those that currently have the slowest connections. Their available speeds will rocket to more than 1,000 megabits or one gigabit per second - enough to download a HD movie in less than 30 seconds and lay the foundations for tomorrow’s tech such as
8K-quality video streaming.

It means families no longer having to battle over bandwidth and will give people in rural areas the freedom to live and work more flexibly with the speed and reliability needed to start and run businesses.

Digital Secretary Oliver Dowden said:

“Rural communities in the East Midlands will be among the millions across the UK to get lightning-fast gigabit broadband through the government’s Project Gigabit.


“The £5 billion plan is investing in hard-to-reach areas and drawing in commercial providers to improve the quality and speed of connections, which is at the heart of our national mission to level up the regions and build back better.”

Project Gigabit will incentivise network providers to build in areas deemed ‘commercially unviable’. Areas with the largest proportion of premises identified as hard-to-reach or connected to slow speeds will be first in line for support.

Project Gigabit will accelerate our recovery from covid, fire up high growth sectors like tech and the creative industries and level up the country, spreading wealth and creating jobs across the breadth of Britain.

Cllr Kam Kaur, Portfolio Holder for Economy & Place, Warwickshire County Council, said:

“Warwickshire County Council is delighted to be included in the Project Gigabit programme and warmly welcome today’s announcement.


“The substantial investment from DCMS clearly builds upon Warwickshire’s digital strategies, helps promote further digital inclusion for our residents and businesses and provides a stimulus for economic development in our post covid recovery planning.


“We welcome the partnership working across neighbouring authorities as part of our continued joint working initiatives. This is good news for Warwickshire and the wider region.”

Cllr Nick Rushton, Leicestershire County Council leader, said:

“We’re committed to helping every resident in Leicestershire access superfast speeds, and being part of £5 billion plan for Project Gigabit, where some of our most rural communities are set to benefit, is an absolute triumph.


“During the COVID pandemic, we’ve experienced how access to cutting-edge technology has been vital. Leicestershire residents and businesses have been thrown a lifeline with online connectivity, using broadband to maintain social circles and get businesses back on track.”


“Nationally, we’re now in a stage of recovery and with this new programme, thousands of rural homes and businesses are set to benefit from faster and more reliable broadband, some of our most isolated communities can prepare to see a huge improvement in the way they work and live, especially in eastern Leicestershire.


“This programme is a great opportunity for rural enterprises to increase productivity and grow economically. It will allow the growth, and even the start-up, of businesses with the support of new and improved trailblazing technology.”

Published: 2nd August 2021