A £33.5m broadband project in rural Dorset will deliver 21,000 homes and businesses next gen connection. 

Wessex Internet has won a major governmental contract to deliver lightning-fast broadband to 21,400 homes and businesses in rural areas of south and west Dorset, and South Somerset.

Worth £33.5m, the contract was signed as part of project gigabit, the government's £5 billion mission to upgrade digital connectivity in hard-to-reach areas.

Digital infrastructure minister Julia Lopez said: “Outdated infrastructure not only hampers economic growth for businesses and communities but also detracts from people’s quality of life. Essential tasks such as online medical appointments or business meetings shouldn't be hindered by slow speeds and unreliable service.

“Thanks to our £5 billion Project Gigabit rollout, many rural areas in Dorset and South Somerset will have access to top-of-the-range connections and can unlock more opportunities in the digital economy.”

This is the fourth project gigabit project awarded to Wessex Internet and the company's largest to date. 

The company was also given an £18.8 million project to oversee a similar roll-out in South Wiltshire. 

Hector Gibson Fleming, CEO at Wessex Internet, said: “We’re passionate about connecting rural communities to ultrafast broadband, making sure that people and businesses in the countryside are not held back by decades-old technology.

“While this is a large geographical area, it also represents an organic expansion of our existing network.

"This will allow us to retain the friendly local service that matters so much to our customers, to continue working in partnership with rural communities in our network build, and to provide fulfilling employment opportunities for local people.”

Construction is expected to start at the end of 2024 and includes villages and hamlets around Swanage and the Isle of Purbeck, and rural communities near Dorchester, Sherborne, and Beaminster. 

All properties will benefit from full fibre connections, which means that fibre optic cable goes all the way to a home or business rather than stopping at a cabinet on the road.

Residents who want to find out if construction will affect them can do so on Wessex Internet's coverage checker.