Latest £33.5m broadband project will connect thousands more people in rural Dorset


Wessex Internet has secured a significant new government contract worth £33.5 million to expand ultrafast broadband access to 21,400 homes and businesses in rural South and West Dorset, and South Somerset. This initiative is part of Project Gigabit, the government’s £5 billion effort to enhance digital infrastructure in the UK’s most remote areas, ensuring they aren’t left behind in the rapidly advancing digital age.
This latest contract marks the fourth and largest Project Gigabit agreement awarded to Wessex Internet, emphasising their growing role in national efforts to improve connectivity. It follows closely on the heels of another major project announced in March, where the provider committed to an £18.8 million broadband rollout in South Wiltshire.
Digital Infrastructure Minister Julia Lopez highlighted the critical need for updating the UK’s digital infrastructure, stating, ‘Outdated infrastructure restricts economic growth and reduces quality of life. Our Project Gigabit initiative aims to equip rural areas with state-of-the-art connections, allowing them to thrive in the digital economy.’
Hector Gibson Fleming, CEO of Wessex Internet, expressed the company’s commitment to enhancing rural connectivity. ‘Since our first installations in 2012, our mission has been clear—to ensure rural communities are not disadvantaged by outdated technology. This new project allows us to expand our network organically while maintaining the local, customer-focused service that defines us.’
The planned network expansion will commence construction in late 2024, targeting rural areas around Swanage, Isle of Purbeck, Dorchester, Sherborne, Beaminster in Dorset, and areas near Crewkerne, Ilminster, Glastonbury, Shepton Mallet, and Bruton in South Somerset. The project will implement full fibre, or Fibre to the Premise (FTTP) connections, offering speeds up to 10Gbps – significantly faster and more reliable than the older copper wiring systems.
The above map shows the new areas covered by the latest contract. Much of rural Dorset is already covered by Wessex Internet (or built in to future plans). Those keen to take advantage of the high speed access, the best advice is to use the postcode checker on the Wessex Internet website, which will show access plans for individual properties.


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