More than half of UK homes and businesses have access to gigabit-capable broadband, new figures show.
According to data from the broadband checker website ThinkBroadband, 50.2% of properties across the country are able to access the faster internet connection, up from around 6% in January 2019.
The Government has hailed the milestone as a key moment in its £5 billion Project Gigabit, the nationwide rollout of faster internet connections, with the figures meaning more than 15 million properties are covered by the top commercial broadband speeds.
Faster broadband speeds are becoming increasingly necessary as more internet-connected smart devices become available for the home, and online streaming services become more prevalent.
“We’ve passed the halfway point in our national mission to level up the UK with lightning-fast gigabit broadband,” Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries said.
“Millions of people can now access the fastest, most reliable internet connections, allowing them full advantage of new technologies over the next 40 years.
“Thanks to the work of industry and our record £5 billion investment, we are making phenomenal progress in the Prime Minister’s infrastructure revolution.”
According to the figures, West Dunbartonshire in Scotland has seen one of the biggest surges in gigabit broadband coverage, with availability rising from 1% in July 2020 to 95% today.
Similarly, coverage in Blackpool has risen from 2% in January 2019 to 85% and in Reading it has climbed from 5% in January 2019 to 93%.
“We are pleased to see the UK break through the 50% mark for gigabit availability across the UK and if existing plans from providers come to fruition we are looking at 65 to 68% gigabit coverage in early 2022,” ThinkBroadband editor Andrew Ferguson said.
“The next few years are going to be transformative for the UK broadband market with the many full-fibre networks being built and we look forward to mapping all of them and ensuring the public can easily see what their broadband options are.”
Earlier this month, Virgin Media O2 confirmed its own gigabit network was available to more than 10 million homes.
The telecoms giant’s chief executive, Lutz Schuler, said the company was helping to “future-proof” the UK.
“As the UK’s largest gigabit provider, Virgin Media O2 is leading the charge to roll out next-generation services across our entire network at an unrivalled pace,” he said.
“Our continued investment has brought future-proof gigabit connectivity to more than 10 million homes and we’re committed to finishing the job.
“With a clear plan to connect our entire network to gigabit speeds by the end of the year, we’re proud to be playing the leading role in delivering most of the Government’s broadband target ahead of schedule and boosting the UK up the global broadband league tables.”
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