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More English counties to get ultrafast broadband upgrades – is your area on the list?

Over a million more homes and businesses in England are set to get ultrafast broadband connectivity as part of a £5 billion upgrade – though work on the project won't start until next year at the earliest.

An additional 1.37 million premises across 21 English counties will get access to ultrafast internet as part of the government's 'Project Gigabit' scheme, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) announced today. It's an expansion to the 15 areas the government first announced would benefit.

More areas, including across Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, will be added to the list "over the coming months", DCMS said, as the government works to meet its target of ensuring 85% of households in the UK have access to gigabit speeds by 2025.

Following the upgrades, broadband speeds are expected to rise to one gigabit – 1,000 megabits – per second, enough to download a high-definition movie in less than 30 seconds. The current average for residential broadband is 80.2 megabits per second. See our Broadband Speed guide for tips on how to improve your broadband, including a free speed test.

New areas getting the broadband upgrade include Kent, Staffordshire and Yorkshire

The additional areas to benefit from the automatic upgrades are listed below, though work isn't expected to start until April 2023. Not every home in these regions will get the ultrafast broadband boost straight away, so you'll have to look out for further details later on. We'll have new information on our site as it becomes available.

  • Bedfordshire
  • Buckinghamshire
  • Derbyshire
  • East Sussex
  • Hertfordshire
  • Kent
  • Lancashire
  • Leicestershire
  • North Yorkshire
  • Northamptonshire
  • Nottinghamshire
  • Oxfordshire
  • South Gloucestershire
  • South Yorkshire
  • Staffordshire
  • Surrey
  • Warwickshire
  • West Berkshire
  • West Sussex
  • West Yorkshire
  • Wiltshire

Cambridgeshire, Dorset and Essex will be among the first to get the speed boost

As announced earlier this year, the rollout will start with around 350,000 premises in the nine regions listed below, with "spades hitting the ground" in the first half of next year, according to DCMS.

  • Cambridgeshire
  • Cornwall
  • Cumbria
  • Dorset
  • Durham
  • Essex
  • Northumberland
  • South Tyneside
  • Tees Valley

After that, the government plans to connect a further 480,000 premises in the six areas below, with engineering works expected to start in January 2023.

  • Hampshire
  • Isle of Wight
  • Norfolk
  • Shropshire
  • Suffolk
  • Worcestershire

What does the government say?

Digital secretary Oliver Dowden said: "Project Gigabit is our national mission to level up rural areas by giving them the fastest internet speeds on the market. This broadband revolution will create jobs, power up businesses and allow everyone to access vital services at lightning fast speed, helping us build back better from the pandemic."

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