HOMES and businesses in rural Hampshire areas will benefit from new super-fast broadband connections backed by millions in government investment.

A contract has been agreed and signed with CityFibre, the UK’s largest independent full-fibre provider, which will give 76,000 premises across Hampshire access to gigabit speeds.

East Hampshire, Rushmoor and Test Valley are just some of the places in Hampshire in line for new lightning-fast broadband connections resulting from a £104m funding injection.

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This is part of the government’s £5bn Project Gigabit programme. For rural Hampshire, Suffolk and Norfolk, the government has invested £318m and the provider has contributed a further £170m.

Andover’s MP Kit Malthouse has welcomed the news.

Mr Malthouse said: “This is fantastic news for residents and businesses in our rural communities who will now be able bank online, conduct business, shop, and stream entertainment at lightning speeds. Faster and reliable broadband is vital for those hard-to-reach areas which have been disadvantaged for too long. It will help connect us together, open up our local businesses to new markets, improve efficiency, and ultimately boost our local economy. The contract’s signed, the work has already begun, and the first Project Gigabit connections are expected in 2024. I am meeting the project team in the next couple of weeks to discuss the roll-out in more detail.”

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Over 76 per cent of homes and businesses across the country now have access to gigabit-capable broadband, a vast improvement from January 2019 when it was just six per cent.

There are now 29 live procurements and contracts in place to extend it into hard-to-reach parts of the country.

CityFibre CEO Greg Mesch said: “Securing three further Project Gigabit contracts firmly establishes CityFibre as an integral delivery partner to the Government for rural connectivity.

“Our growing participation is central to our strategy, optimising our commercial rollout plan alongside the programme to provide our ISP customers with unrivalled network density in regions throughout the country.”