Digital & IT

Bit by gigabit: Wessex Internet wins £33.5m contract to bring fibre broadband to rural Dorset

By Daniel Face [email protected]

Published: April 19, 2024 | Updated: 19th April 2024

Wessex Internet has secured a major contract to deliver ultrafast broadband to 21,400 homes and businesses in rural areas of South and West Dorset.

The £33.5 million contract was signed as part of Project Gigabit, the government’s £5 billion mission to upgrade digital connectivity in hard-to-reach areas of the country.

This is the fourth Project Gigabit contract awarded to Wessex Internet, and the company’s largest to date.

It comes hot off the heels of last month’s announcement that the Dorset-based broadband supplier would also be delivering the £18.8 million Project Gigabit rollout for South Wiltshire.

Hector Gibson FlemingHector Gibson Fleming, CEO of Wessex Internet, said: “We’re passionate about connecting rural communities to ultrafast broadband, making sure that people and businesses in the countryside are not held back by decades-old technology.

“From the first connections we provided to friends and neighbours in 2012, to now being awarded our largest government contract to date, we remain true to these core values.

“Everyone at Wessex Internet is excited we’ll be extending our service to thousands more people living and working in the new Dorset and South Somerset Project Gigabit area.”

Planning for the network expansion is already underway, with construction expected to start towards the end of 2024.

The contract includes villages and hamlets around Swanage and the Isle of Purbeck, and rural communities near to Dorchester, Sherborne and Beaminster. It also covers areas of South Somerset.

All properties will benefit from full fibre connections, delivering connection speeds of up to 10Gbps.

Image: Richard Townshend

Julia Lopez, minister for digital infrastructure, added: “Outdated infrastructure not only hampers economic growth for businesses and communities, but also detracts from people’s quality of life.

“Essential tasks such as online medical appointments or business meetings shouldn’t be hindered by slow speeds and unreliable service.

“Thanks to our £5 billion Project Gigabit rollout, many rural areas in Dorset and South Somerset will have access to top-of-the-range connections and can unlock more opportunities in the digital economy.”

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