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Major broadband upgrade for Wiltshire to benefit thousands of rural properties

Wessex Internet wins £18m government funded Project Gigabit contract to roll out lightning-fast connectivity to around 14,500 homes and businesses in South Wiltshire.

Published 22 March 2024

Thousands of people in rural South Wiltshire will enjoy access to next generation gigabit broadband after a major contract was signed to upgrade the county's network as part of Project Gigabit - the government's £5 billion mission to upgrade digital connectivity in hard-to-reach areas.

Around 14,500 homes and businesses across South Wiltshire will be connected to gigabit capable broadband by Wessex Internet, in what will be the company's third Project Gigabit contract.

The £18.8 million government investment will enable Wessex Internet to expand its existing network in the Wylye Valley going across the Salisbury Plain connecting villages surrounding Amesbury to the east and going as far north as Chisbury and Little Bedwyn.

All properties will benefit from full fibre connections, also known as Fibre to the Premise (FTTP), with the fibre optic cable going all the way to the home or business, not just stopping at the cabinet down the road. This delivers connection speeds of up to 10Gbps, with far superior speeds and reliability compared to existing copper networks.

Wessex Internet will immediately commence network planning for this five year contract with construction due to start in September 2024 and the first properties expected to be connected by the end of this year.

Data and Digital Infrastructure Minister Julia Lopez, said: "Our record-breaking rollout of gigabit broadband is a game changer, bringing lightning-fast connectivity to the most remote locations previously stuck in the digital slow lane.

"Thanks to our Project Gigabit, thousands of hard-to-reach homes and businesses in Wiltshire will soon have the opportunity to tap into the fastest broadband speeds available, providing endless opportunities to improve lives and grow the economy."

Hector Gibson Fleming, CEO at Wessex Internet, said: "From entertainment to education, fast, reliable broadband is essential to modern living, and those living and working in rural communities should not be left behind. We're delighted to have been awarded another government contract to extend our network in Wiltshire and bring blistering-fast broadband to thousands more homes and businesses."

Wessex Internet is already delivering gigabit-capable broadband in North Dorset (opens new window) and the New Forest to around 17,500 rural homes and businesses, funding through Project Gigabit (opens new window).

Based just a few miles from the Wiltshire border in North Dorset, Wessex Internet has already rolled out its full fibre infrastructure to more than 3,000 properties in Wiltshire in communities including East Knoyle and West Knoyle, Donhead St Andrew, Fisherton De La Mere and Corton.

Cllr Ashley O'Neill, Cabinet Member for Broadband at Wiltshire Council, said: "We are delighted that a contract has been awarded to deliver next generation broadband to thousands of homes and businesses in South Wiltshire.

"One of our key priorities is to have well-connected communities. As lightning-fast gigabit broadband connections have a profound benefit for local people and businesses, we look forward to working with Wessex Internet to achieve a successful rollout of this scheme and seeing the real difference it can make to people's lives."

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