Boost for rural connectivity

Millions of homes in hard-to-reach areas set to benefit from roll-out of full-fibre broadband
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Rural areas set for broadband improvement

Millions of homes in hard-to-reach areas set to benefit from roll-out of full-fibre broadband

Plans to build ultrafast full-fibre broadband to at least three million more homes and businesses in some of the UK’s hardest-to-serve communities have been unveiled by Openreach today.

The company’s updated build plan will be fundamental to the UK Government achieving its target of delivering ‘gigabit capable broadband’ to 85 per cent of UK by 2025 and it follows an extended investment commitment by its parent, BT Group.

This means Openreach will now build Full Fibre technology to a total of 25 million premises, including more than six million in many ‘not spots’ across the country.

The countryside has tremendous economic potential to create more jobs and attract new rural businesses, but this can’t be achieved without improved connectivity

CLA President Mark Bridgeman

Mark Bridgeman, President of the Country Land & Business Association which represents 28,000 farmers, land managers and rural businesses across England and Wales, said:

“This announcement is a real boost for millions more rural homes who are set to benefit from faster broadband.

“The countryside has tremendous economic potential to create more jobs and attract new rural businesses, but this can’t be achieved without improved connectivity. Unlocking the digital potential of the countryside could be worth billions of pounds to the economy.”

Clive Selley, Openreach CEO, said:

“Building a new broadband network across the UK is a massive challenge and some parts of the country will inevitably require public funding. But our expanded build plan means taxpayer subsidies can be limited to only the hardest to connect homes and businesses - and we hope to see other companies step forward to build in the most rural areas too.

“This is a hugely complex, nationwide engineering project – second only to HS2 in terms of investment. It will help level-up the UK because the impact of Full Fibre broadband stretches from increased economic prosperity and international competitiveness, to higher employment and environmental benefits. We’re also delighted to continue bucking the national trend by creating thousands more jobs, with apprentices joining in their droves to start their careers as engineers.”

Digital Secretary Oliver Dowden said:

“We are levelling up the UK and taking hard-to-reach homes and businesses off buffer mode with a £5 billion investment in lightning-fast, next generation broadband.

“I welcome Openreach’s ambitious plans to connect millions more rural homes to gigabit speeds. It means our funding can go even further to help those in need and will create thousands more high-skilled engineering jobs as we build back better from the pandemic."

The new, five-year deployment plan includes the majority of homes and business in around 1100 exchange locations - including market and coastal towns, villages and hamlets spread across the entire UK. The locations include Kirkwall in the Orkney Islands, Cardigan in Wales, Keswick in Cumbria and Allhallows in Kent.

For a full list of locations, see here

Key contact:

Joel Holt
Joel Holt National Communications Manager