Government's roll out of fibre broadband for rural and remote locations is underway

Schools to benefit first from Westminster's Rural Gigabit Connectivity programme

Landscape photograph of the English countryside

The UK government's plan to get full fibre broadband in more rural and remote locations of the county has begun.

Last year, the government identified that approximately 10% of UK premises, largely in rural and remote areas, would be unlikely to receive gigabit-capable connections commercially by 2033.

To tackle this, and make sure rural areas are not disadvantaged in the race for full fibre broadband, the digital secretary Jeremy Wright announced The Rural Gigabit Connectivity programme on Monday as the first step of its approach.

"Our decision to tackle some of the hardest to reach places first is a significant shift in Government policy and will be instrumental in delivering our plans for a nationwide full fibre broadband network by 2033," he said.

"Our rollout of superfast broadband transformed the UK's digital landscape, and our modern Industrial Strategy is focused on investing in the infrastructure that will make Britain fit for the future."

The Rural Gigabit Connectivity programme is a two-year project focused on rural areas, backed with 200 million of government funding. The government will concentrate on sites in Cornwall, Cumbria, Northumberland and Pembrokeshire at first, but additional sites in Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales and the rest of England will be announced in the coming months.

The programme will trial a model connecting local hubs in rural areas, starting with primary schools. Working with the Department for Education, the gov has identified the first 31 schools eligible for a connection under the scheme. It is hoped that these new speeds will enable whole classes to simultaneously surf the internet on tablets as part of structured lessons and gives schools easier access to online training and educational learning.

"In most parts of the country a fast, reliable internet connection is taken for granted, but that is not the case for everyone," said education secretary Damian Hinds. "This programme will mean that schools in these areas won't be held back from accessing all of the opportunities the internet has to offer.

"These first 31 schools will see the tangible benefits that fast broadband has to offer, from reducing teacher and staff workload to improving access to high-quality learning resources."

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