Hundreds of thousands of people across the country will benefit from lightning-fast broadband speeds, thanks to more than half a billion pounds’ worth in funding from the UK government over the course of this year.

Over 17,000 homes and businesses across rural Derbyshire are the latest set to be connected to the fastest broadband speeds on the market, backed by £33 million in new government investment announced today – with spades expected in the ground by next summer.

They join homes and businesses across Shropshire, Cambridgeshire, New Forest, Norfolk, Suffolk, Hampshire, North East Staffordshire and Oxfordshire who have been awarded contracts this year to upgrade their broadband – totalling over £530 million invested to benefit over 330,000 properties.

LIS Show – MPU

This announcement comes as Building Digital UK (BDUK) issues its latest progress update today, showing the total number of homes and businesses that already have access to fast and reliable gigabit broadband thanks to UK government investment now stands at 929,700.

Gigabit broadband speeds mean households can download a high-definition film in under one minute, stream and download entertainment and shop online across several different devices at once.

This will save families from battling over bandwidth, nipping any family arguments in the bud when parents want to tune into It’s a Wonderful Life or the King’s Christmas broadcast, while children want to see Kevin McCallister tangle with would-be burglars at the same time.

This new connectivity will also help boost online efficiency and productivity for businesses to pave the way for new opportunities and further economic growth.

Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology Michelle Donelan said:

“Working hand in glove with industry, the success of our high-speed broadband rollout means more homes have faster, clearer connectivity than ever before.

Whether they are streaming classic Christmas movies or video calling loved ones across the world, this year thousands more families will not have to face feuds over festive films or frustrating buffering, leaving more time to spend enjoying the company of their nearest and dearest.”

Minister for Data and Digital Infrastructure, Sir John Whittingdale, said:

“The progress of Project Gigabit this year has seen us take significant strides in delivering modern connectivity throughout the UK.

As we approach Christmas, I hope the ability to obtain gigabit broadband speeds will bring joy to households, and will continue to deliver new opportunities for generations to come.

Our commitment to advancing digital infrastructure highlights our dedication to creating a connected and thriving future for all.”

In the meantime, thousands of homes and businesses are already benefiting from an upgraded gigabit connection.

Local residents living in hard-to-reach communities in places such as Staveley in Cumbria, Barnard Castle in Teesdale and Bishop’s Caundle in North Dorset were among the first to get connected this year through the government’s contracts with suppliers in these regions.

The current rollout progress in the UK stands at 79%, and the government is continuing to work at pace with broadband suppliers to achieve 85% coverage by 2025, and then nationwide by 2030.

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