Project Gigabit hits 1 million premises milestone

The government has announced that thanks to Project Gigabit, gigabit networks have now reached more than one million homes, businesses and public buildings with the aim to connect hard-to-reach communities.

Project Gigabit is a £5 billion programme that aims to ensure hard-to-reach areas are not left behind in the national upgrade to gigabit broadband.

Funding has been invested for over a decade in the construction of ‘gigabit-capable’ networks in areas that are too difficult or expensive for broadband suppliers to reach as part of their commercial plans.

The government said these homes and businesses have been able to connect better since the first upgrade was delivered in 2012. Most of the 1 million premises are spread across hard-to-reach areas of the UK, including 68,800 in Scotland, 108,800 in Wales and 118,900 in Northern Ireland.

The majority of these premises are in areas where residents and businesses previously would have struggled to perform basic online tasks that others take for granted such as shopping or banking online.

Some of the premises benefitting from the gigabit networks include 5,300 public buildings which includes schools, libraries, and hospitals.

Project Gigabit aims to connect an additional 32,400 rural premises across Gloucestershire, West and parts of North Yorkshire.

This forms part of the UK building gigabit networks faster than any country in the EU, thanks in part to government measures to stimulate competition and bust barriers to rollout.

Michelle Donelan, technology secretary, said the project means "rural communities held back by achingly slow internet can now tap into the best speeds on the market."

She said she will mark the success by visiting the rural town of Wooler in Northumberland today (22 February) to see the impact of the rollout.