view of Keswick, Derwent Water and the surrounding fells.

Record digital connectivity boost

The Department for Science, Innovation and Technology has announced that this year has seen a record amount of investment in ensuring that communities are increasingly connected.

So far this year, £714 million has been committed to the improvement of broadband and digital connectivity, with the total now sitting at £1.3 billion. With this investment, the government has confirmed that nearly 380,000 rural premises are benefiting from these upgrades, making it easier for members of rural communities to set up businesses, access education and skills, and increase productivity to drive economic growth.

As funding comes through the government’s Project Gigabit programme, some of the areas that are set to benefit from the investment include Yorkshire, The Isles of Scilly, and Dorset.

Julia Lopez, Minister for Data and Digital, commented:

“Connectivity has never been more important for people and businesses. It is increasingly the enabler for so many services that we rely on every day, from using maps to doing business.

“The figures published today demonstrate just how rapidly we are getting higher quality, gigabit broadband to every part of the country – even some of our most remote, rural areas.

“Whether that be to a business on the coast of Cornwall or the hills of the Peak District, patchy and poor connection should never be a barrier to economic growth or somebody’s life chances.”

Map of areas benefitting from better connectivity

As the government releases the investment figures from this year so far, they have also announced that a further £165 million worth of contracts have been awarded to improve digital connectivity across the following areas:

  • South Yorkshire
  • Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly
  • Herefordshire
  • The Forest of Dean
  • The Peak District
  • Dorset
  • Somerset

Broadband isn’t the only thing being upgraded across rural areas, as the government also announced that 4G mobile coverage across rural towns and villages in the Lake District is to be boosted thanks to the first of 83 government-backed upgrades. Through this upgrade, local businesses and community organisations will be able to take advantage of the better connectivity that improved mobile coverage offers, helping to drive economic growth.

All of the coverage improvements come as part of the government’s £500 million Shared Rural Network which has, since 2020, delivered improved coverage for an area equivalent to the size of Northern Ireland.

Expanding on the 4G boost, Lopez added:

“The coverage boost will provide endless benefits for communities and visitors, ensuring people stay connected on the go, enabling people to work more efficiently and attracting vital investment to the rural economy.”


Image credit: iStock


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