The government has announced the first stages of its plans to get ultra-fast broadband to the majority of homes in the UK.
It had originally promised to roll out gigabit-speed broadband to every home in Britain by 2025, but that was reduced to 85% coverage in November.
The budget remains at £5bn, with only £1.2bn of that will be made available up to 2024.
Responding to this announcement, CLA President Mark Bridgeman said:
This is an important moment in levelling up the countryside. Too many rural businesses are put at a disadvantage by poor connectivity. The rural economy is 16% less productive than the national average, largely due to poor infrastructure. Closing this gap would grow the economy by at least £43bn. So this is a good start, but if government is serious about levelling up then it’s foot needs to stay on the accelerator until the job is complete.
According to government, the infrastructure build should start from 2022.
The first to benefit will be homes and businesses in areas of Cambridgeshire, Essex, Northumberland, South Tyneside and Tees Valley.
The next areas are expected to be Norfolk, Shropshire, Suffolk, Worcestershire, Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.