Project Gigabit broadband rollout continues in Cambridgeshire

Work has begun in Cambridgeshire to connect tens of thousands of people to better broadband as part of the government’s Project Gigabit. 

A £122m plan has begun in the area to connect about 45,000 homes and businesses in rural and hard to reach areas with full fibre broadband.

Julia Lopez, the Digital Infrastructure Minister, explained that alongside ensuring that rural people are not left behind, the plans will also help digital businesses. 

She said: ‘This landmark deal with CityFibre will help deliver the Prime Minister’s priority to grow the economy by ensuring the county’s pioneering science and tech industries can unleash their full potential with lightning-quick connectivity, whether in the city or the countryside.’ 

The Cambridgeshire works are part of the government’s ongoing Project Gigabit, a £5bn scheme that seeks to connect 85% of the UK to gigabit-capable broadband by 2025 and achieve ‘nationwide coverage’ by 2030, currently about 73% of the country is connected. 

Alongside a £62m contract with the government, the plan is also backed by £53m investment from the UK’s largest full fibre provider CityFibre, who will expand their network. 

This investment will also see CityFibre put £300,000 into a local stimulus package, creating jobs and providing construction and engineering internships for disadvantaged groups in the local area. Free connectivity will also be provided to 50 local charities and social enterprises. 

CityFibre CEO Greg Mesch said: ‘We look forward to a long and effective partnership in this exciting programme which supports not only rural connectivity, but a healthy competitive market for the long term, benefiting consumers and business nationwide.’ 

Plans also align with the work being carried out by Connecting Cambridgeshire, a Cambridgeshire County Council programme to improve connectivity infrastructure in the area, increase public access to WiFi, and use smart tech to support local businesses and communities. 

The first connections under the Project Gigabit works are expected to be completed by early 2024. 

Cllr Lorna Dupré, who chairs the committee overseeing the Connecting Cambridgeshire programme, said: ‘Access to fast, reliable internet connectivity should no longer be a luxury. 

‘It is a basic necessity for all our residents, local businesses and the delivery of public services, this initiative will greatly enhance the region’s digital infrastructure and support economic growth, education and innovation.’ 

The contract to begin work in Cambridgeshire comes soon after deals were signed with a local supplier in Cornwall to connect almost 20,000 homes and businesses in the South West and Central areas of the county.

Photo by Department for Science, Innovation and Technology

Featured photo by Compare Fibre


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