31 schools in Cornwall, Cumbria, Northumberland and Pembrokeshire will be among the first to benefit from the scheme

The UK’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has launched a £200 million programme to deliver fibre to the home (FTTH) connectivity to some of the UK’s hardest to reach rural communities. The Rural Gigabit Connectivity (RGC) scheme is intended to bring next generation, fixed line connectivity to areas hat would otherwise have been unlikely to receive gigabit services before 2033.

"Our decision to tackle some of the hardest to reach places first is a significant shift in Government policy and will be instrumental in delivering our plans for a nationwide full fibre broadband network by 2033. Our rollout of superfast broadband transformed the UK’s digital landscape, and our modern Industrial Strategy is focused on investing in the infrastructure that will make Britain fit for the future," said DCMS Secretary of State Jeremy Wright.

The DCMS has initially targeted a number of sites in Cornwall, Cumbria, Northumberland and Pembrokeshire, with new sites in Scotland, Wales, England and Northern Ireland expected to be confirmed in the weeks ahead.

The UK government will connect 31 schools in rural locations to gigabit capable broadband services, as the first phase of the scheme.  

"In most parts of the country a fast, reliable internet connection is taken for granted – but that is not the case for everyone. This programme will mean that schools in these areas won’t be held back from accessing all of the opportunities the internet has to offer. These first 31 schools will see the tangible benefits that fast broadband has to offer, from reducing teacher and staff workload, to improving access to high-quality learning resources," said the UK’s education secretary, Damian Hinds.

The RCG will also help to connect local businesses to FTTH services, by offering Rural Gigabit Vouchers of up to £3,500 per business. 

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