Almost two million homes across rural parts of England have been identified as next in line for the upgrade to superfast fibre broadband. The 1.8 million properties will transition from ageing copper cables to next-generation fibre broadband as part of the £5 billion scheme by the UK Government to “level up” the country.
The Government-funded project – dubbed Project Gigabit — is designed to focus on areas with slow connections that would otherwise be left behind by broadband companies due to the difficulty (and high costs) of installing the infrastructure. During his election campaign, Boris Johnson had pledged to bring gigabit-capable broadband to every home in the UK by 2025, however, this was quickly watered down as the moving vans arrived outside 10 Downing Street.
The latest update on Project Gigabit singled out 1.85 million premises across 26 counties, including Shropshire, Norfolk, Suffolk, Hampshire, and the Isle of Wight. The new announcement comes after the first areas set to benefit from the upgrade were revealed back in March. Properties in Tees Valley, South Tyneside, Northumberland, Essex, Cornwall and Cambridgeshire were all boosted from sluggish speeds.
The average broadband speed across the UK, as recorded earlier this year, stands at 70Mbps. That’s one of the slowest in Western Europe. When compared to the rest of the world, data from Cable.co.uk shows the UK’s 2021 average speeds place us in 22nd place, behind Estonia, Bermuda, Malta, Aruba, Hungary, and the Netherlands.
Liechtenstein and Jersey are first and second place with 229.98Mbps and 218Mbps average download speeds, respectively.
Gigabit broadband is capable of delivering download speeds over 1,000Mbps. At that speed, you can download a two-hour film in seconds.
More importantly, for busy households with multiple people trying to stream movies, make video calls with work colleagues, back up their devices, or download huge files – like PlayStation 5 games, or operating system updates – at peak times won’t notice a decrease in speed. As new emerging technologies, like virtual reality and 8K video streaming, become commonplace, the gigabit-capable infrastructure will be able to handle it all.
Gigabit speeds are only possible when the connection between your broadband supplier, the network, and your house is made using fibre-optic cables instead of the copper phone lines used in the past. This is more than 25x faster than normal fibre broadband.