More than 500,000 Hampshire homes to get gigabit broadband speeds by the end of the decade

At a select committee meeting on Thursday, Hampshire County Council and Openreach unveiled their plans for Project Gigabit, a scheme that is set to bring internet speeds of 1000mbps to more than 500,000 properties across the county.

It comes roughly 10 years after a similar scheme was run for superfast broadband, which is 100 times slower than what is being proposed.

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Thousands of homes will benefit from gigabit broadband speeds by 2028. Picture: Contributed

Current superfast broadband runs on fiber cables, but only up to the green cabinets in the street.

This new system, set to be implemented by 2028, will have fiber-optic cables right across the network.

Glenn Peacy from the county council’s broadband program said: ‘Over the past 10 years we have delivered broadband upgrades to 115,000 properties covering 97.4 per cent of Hampshire.

‘Building Digital UK has allocated £ 215m for Hampshire, and Hampshire County Council has allocated a further £ 1.4m for the project so far.

‘At the moment we know the footprint they want the procurement for and how many houses will be covered, but we don’t know much more than that for the time being.’

But once the project is completed, it won’t automatically mean gigabit speeds for everyone.

Instead, it depends on the broadband packages people are paying for.

Connie Dixon from Openreach said: ‘Full fiber is capable of gigabit speeds, but once we build the network we sell it to service providers like BT, Sky, Virgin Media and so on.

‘People then have the option to pay for a package that will allow them to access these speeds.’

Openreach says it is ‘ramping up’ staff levels and training programs in order to get its engineers up to speed.

Ms Dixon told the select committee there is a ‘phenomenal’ demand, but doubled down on her company’s capability.

The procurement will go out to tender in August, allowing companies to bid for the construction contracts – which will be awarded next year.

Some rural communities are also set to miss out on the scheme, including the villages of Bighton and Gundleton, near New Alresford.

Mr Peacy said: ‘Broadband infrastructure isn’t just about the devices you hold, but about the power in communities.

‘Not having these speeds really does cut you off from the modern world.’

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