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Broadband upgrade in West Midlands to level up 194,000 rural homes and businesses
Posted on 02/08/2021

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Broadband upgrade in West Midlands to level up 194,000 rural homes and businesses
  • Hard-to-reach premises in West Midlands to benefit from £5 billion government scheme
  • Includes Shropshire, Staffordshire and Worcestershire
  • Big boost to broadband voucher scheme thanks to top-ups in Shropshire

Rural homes and businesses across the West Midlands will get next-generation gigabit broadband built to them under a £5 billion plan to level up internet access across the UK.

New details published today from Project Gigabit, a government scheme to upgrade broadband infrastructure in hard-to-reach areas, reveal that up to 194,000 rural homes and businesses in the region and surrounding areas are in line to be connected to lightning-fast speeds.

This is in addition to commercial providers’ roll out which is seeing gigabit broadband being deployed rapidly across the country - from one in ten households in the UK in 2019 to more than two in five today. The country is also on track for one of the fastest rollouts in Europe and for 60 per cent of all households to have access to gigabit speeds by the end of this year.

The Project Gigabit programme targets properties that would otherwise have been left behind in broadband companies’ rollout plans, prioritising those that currently have the slowest connections.

Their available speeds will rocket to more than 1,000 megabits or one gigabit per second - enough to download a HD movie in less than 30 seconds and lay the foundations for tomorrow’s tech such as 8K-quality video streaming.

It means families no longer having to battle over bandwidth and will give people in rural areas the freedom to live and work more flexibly with the speed and reliability needed to start and run businesses.

The areas - including the dates work is due to start, the number of premises and estimated costs - are as follows:


AreasProcurement start dateContract commencement dateNumber of premisesIndicative contract value
ShropshireFebruary 2022January 202366,700£61m - £104m
WorcestershireMay 2022April 202351,400£50m - £84m
StaffordshireNovember 2022October 202376,300£72m - £123m

More areas in the West Midlands are also planned, and more details will be announced in due course.

Digital Infrastructure Minister Matt Warman said:

“We’re powering ahead in our national mission to level up the regions and build back better.

“Today we can reveal how our £5 billion Project Gigabit broadband fund is going to help rural communities across the West Midlands get access to lightning-fast internet connections and give people the freedom to live and work flexibly and seize the benefits of modern technology.”

Project Gigabit will incentivise network providers to build in areas deemed ‘commercially unviable’. Areas with the largest proportion of premises identified as hard-to-reach or connected to slow speeds will be first in line for support.

Project Gigabit will accelerate our recovery from covid, fire up high growth sectors like tech and the creative industries and level up the country, spreading wealth and creating jobs the breadth of Britain.

People in Shropshire are also set to receive even more financial support to get a next-generation connection thanks to a top-up to the government’s Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme.

It means homes and small businesses in the county can now claim £3,000 or £7,000 respectively to cover the costs of a connection, doubling the amount offered as part of the main scheme.

To check your eligibility for a voucher, visit https://gigabitvoucher.culture.gov.uk/

Black Country LEP @blackcountrylep Follow us on Twitter

Aug 10

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