UK govt awards £165m in new Project Gigabit contracts 


The new contracts cover areas including Cornwall, the Peak District, and the Forest of Dean 


Today, the UK government has released its Spring update for Project Gigabit, its £5 billion plan to upgrade digital connectivity in hard-to-reach areas across the country.  

The update revealed that gigabit broadband coverage in the UK has reached 81% of all premises, a remarkable increase from 6% in 2019, which the government claims places the nation on track to achieve its goals 85% coverage by 2025 and the whole of the UK (roughly 99%) by 2030. 

One of the key milestones reached was the awarding of over £1 billion in contracts under the project, with 15 multi-million-pound contracts signed this year. These contracts will extend coverage to more than 370,000 homes and businesses across various regions including Kent, Buckinghamshire, Gloucestershire, and Yorkshire. 

Of those 15 contracts, six have been announced today:. 

Wholesale network provider FullFibre has secured two contracts worth £33 million for broadband expansion in Derbyshire and Herefordshire to reach a total of 30,000 hard-to-connect homes.
Quickline has been awarded £44 million to extend their fibre network by 32,100 in South Yorkshire
Wessex Internet has secured £33.5 million to connect 21,400 premises in Dorset and South Somerset, which is expected to commence at the end of this year.
Wildanet has been awarded £41.2 million to connect 16,800 premises in the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly, with installation beginning in the Autumn
Voneus has been awarded £12 million to connect 6,000 premises in Shropshire. The first properties under this contract are expected to have Gigabit access next year.

In total, 31 Project Gigabit contracts have been signed so far, with a combined value of over £1.3 billion and aiming to bring gigabit speeds to nearly 800,000 rural homes.  

The government also noted the impact that existing contacts were already having on local communities. Since the December 2023 project update, for example, Wales, Yorkshire and the Humber, and the East Midlands have seen a 3–4% increase in gigabit-capable connectivity. Notably, the period from August 2023 to May 2024 brought more growth in gigabit connectivity for Yorkshire and the Humber and the East Midlands than the entire year from August 2022 to August 2023. 

But not every infrastructure deployment contract has progressed smoothly. In Worcestershire, for example, a contract worth £39.4 million for 18,400 premises has fallen through for uncited reasons (most likely the rising cost of deployment), with the government “currently exploring alternative options for this procurement”. 

Catch up with the Northern based broadband providers at this year’s Connected North event – 22-23 April in Manchester. Secure your last minute tickets now!

Also in the news:
Digi Spain sells 6m FTTH accesses to Onivia
Vodafone’s 5G standalone network now connects around half the German population
Broadband poles no problem for Brits says new study

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