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Government injects £530m in connectivity to support over 330,000 homes and businesses this year

The Government has invested over £530 million in boosting broadband connectivity this year, supporting over 330,000 homes and businesses in rural areas.

The latest £33 million investment will deliver gigabit capable broadband to over 17,000 homes across rural Derbyshire as part of the Government’s ongoing connectivity investment scheme.

The latest project means that over 79 per cent of UK homes and businesses have access to gigabit capable broadband, with plans to expand to 85 per cent by 2025.

This year, contracts have been awarded to support businesses and homes across Cambridgeshire, Hampshire, New Forest, Norfolk, Northeast Staffordshire, Oxfordshire, Shropshire and Suffolk, totalling over £530 million in investment.

Elizabeth Anderson, CEO of the Digital Poverty Alliance, commented: “It’s hugely encouraging to see the Government taking action to address connectivity in rural areas, helping millions of people, families and businesses to gain digital access. Connectivity is vital in modern society, on a par with essential utilities such as energy, yet millions of people in rural areas are unable to get online due to a lack of infrastructure. This prevents them from carrying out tasks such as remote education, online banking, and healthcare consultations over the internet, that many of us take for granted.”

“It is therefore great to see the Government’s recognition of connectivity as a core aspect of digital inclusion and the Digital Poverty Alliance hopes to see continued work as part of this scheme. Areas such as Northern Ireland, for example, are still impacted greatly by digital poverty, including a lack of access to basic broadband services in rural homes. By targeting areas most affected by this digital divide, the Government can quickly provide millions with digital access.”

Further Government work with broadband suppliers is expected to deliver gigabit capable broadband nationwide by 2030.

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.”