Boris Johnson hailed the expansion of broadband at gigabit speeds as he tries to emphasize his achievements as Prime Minister during his final week in office.
The outgoing premier will visit North Dorset on Tuesday, where work is starting on the government’s first major contract under the government’s Project Gigabit, the £ 5 billion program to roll out more reliable broadband in hard-to-reach areas.
New data from the ThinkBroadband website will show that gigabit broadband is now available to 70% of UK homes and businesses, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) said.
Coverage was only 7% in 2019, meaning nearly 20 million premises have been connected since then, according to the department. The government aims to achieve 85% coverage by 2025.
Mr. Johnson said he was “proud” of the expansion and that it proved to “level up”.
During his visit to Dorset he will see preparations to connect 7,000 rural facilities across the region by 2025 as part of a £ 6 million contract awarded by the government to Wessex Internet.
The Prime Minister said: “From Sherbourne to Stirling, lightning fast broadband is ramping up towns and villages across the country.
“In just three years we have increased gigabit broadband coverage from 7% of households to 70% and I am proud that today more than 20 million households, businesses and organizations are able to tap into fast and reliable Internet, freeing their potential, creating opportunities and driving growth across the country ”.
It marks the beginning of a “whirlwind” of Project Gigabit delivery contracts to be awarded in the coming months, DCMS said.
He added that contracts totaling over £ 690 million have already been launched with the aim of covering up to 498,000 premises, with efforts to upgrade rural homes which are expected to start in Cornwall, Cambridgeshire, Cumbria and several areas of England. northeastern before the end of the year.
Gigabit broadband means speeds of around 1,000 megabits per second (Mbps), which is significantly faster than the current national average of just over 50Mbps.
Digital Secretary Nadine Dorries said: “Today we enter an exciting new phase of our £ 5 billion Project Gigabit digital connectivity program by signing our first major contract in Dorset.
“The benefits of improved broadband connectivity cannot be underestimated and this work will mean that those living in rural areas will be able to enjoy the speed of the 21st century at home and in the workplace, making their lives easier and more productive. “.
Johnson’s visit to Dorset is the first of a series of UK stops in his final week before his successor at number 10 – Liz Truss or Rishi Sunak – is announced next Monday.
He was accused of missing in action on two overseas holidays as the country faced warnings of a terrible winter with rising energy bills.
Mr. Johnson, who was ousted by his own MPs after a series of scandals, may try to return as Prime Minister, a former Conservative minister predicted.
Rory Stewart, who ran against Johnson for Tory leadership in 2019, compared him to former Italian premier Silvio Berlusconi and former US president Donald Trump, who are planning to return to office.
The former minister of international development told BBC Radio 4’s Today program on Monday: “I fear he has an extraordinary ego and believes he has been treated badly.
“He does not see the reality that he was a terrible prime minister and that he lost his job due to profound character flaws.
“And yes, I’m afraid we’ll end up with a second Berlusconi or a second Trump trying to come back again.”