Wessex Internet wins government-funded Project Gigabit contract to roll out lightning-fast connectivity to around 10,500 homes and businesses in the New Forest.

New Forest ponies and trees.

Thousands of homes and businesses across the New Forest and surrounding areas will benefit from high-speed full-fibre broadband after a government contract worth nearly £14 million was awarded to Wessex Internet.

This new three-year contract is part of the UK government’s £5 billion Project Gigabit, which aims to provide lightning-fast gigabit-capable broadband to hard-to-reach communities across the UK.

Wessex Internet’s fibre optic network will be rolled out to communities around the New Forest including Brockenhurst, Burley, Beaulieu, Godshill, Hordle and Sway, transforming broadband speeds and reliability for local residents and businesses.

Wessex Internet will work closely with Forestry England and the Verderers of the New Forest throughout this three-year programme of work and expects to start network construction in the first communities by the end of this year.

The first properties could be connected to lightning-fast broadband as early as February 2024.

Digital Infrastructure Minister Julia Lopez said:

Thanks to this latest multi-million pound contract for the New Forest, thousands of hard-to-reach homes and businesses in this stunning area will benefit from a state-of-the-art network ready to provide the speed and reliability we will all need in the decades ahead.

The Prime Minister has put growing the economy as one of his five top priorities, and this investment will go far in delivering on that mission here in the New Forest by equipping rural areas with the infrastructure they need for the digital age.

Hector Gibson Fleming, CEO at Wessex Internet, said:

This is great news for homes and businesses in the New Forest who will be able to access world-class connectivity and the many economic and social benefits it provides. We will now work closely with the residents and communities across this beautiful national park to deliver this exciting programme.

We’re delighted to be awarded our second contract under Project Gigabit. It is testament to the hard work and dedication of our team, and their strong track record of rolling out gigabit-capable connectivity to even the hardest to reach countryside communities.

Project Gigabit is the UK government’s flagship £5 billion programme to enable hard-to-reach communities to access lightning-fast gigabit-capable broadband. The fast, reliable connections delivered by Project Gigabit will level-up mostly rural and remote communities across the UK, such as the New Forest.

With gigabit-capable broadband, households will no longer have to struggle with limited bandwidth, while businesses will be able to improve their productivity, and public services will become more accessible to people in remote areas.

This is the second Project Gigabit contract awarded to Wessex Internet, following the award of Project Gigabit North Dorset to connect more than 7,000 properties in August 2022.

Based in Dorset, Wessex Internet, is an award-winning local and independent broadband provider that is passionate about connecting the countryside. It is building a gigabit-capable network that connects and serves even the most remote communities in Dorset, Hampshire, Wiltshire and South Somerset.

Forestry England’s local spokesperson said:

We very much look forward to supporting Wessex Internet’s delivery of ultrafast full fibre broadband on sensitive land managed by Forestry England over the next few years and hope this will have a positive impact on many residents across the New Forest.


Notes to Editors:

Project Gigabit

Project Gigabit is the government’s flagship £5 billion programme to enable hard-to-reach communities to access lightning-fast gigabit-capable broadband. It targets homes and businesses that are not included in broadband suppliers’ plans, reaching parts of the UK that might otherwise miss out on getting the digital connectivity they need.

By the end of 2025, the government is targeting 85% of the UK to have gigabit-capable connectivity, and then nationwide coverage by 2030.

As the drive to deliver gigabit-capable connections intensifies, over recent months several multi-million pound local and regional Project Gigabit contracts have been awarded covering locations including Cornwall, Cumbria, North Dorset, Teesdale and North Northumberland.

Areas including Hampshire, Shropshire, Norfolk and Suffolk are all in line for contract awards by summer 2023.

Media enquiries:
Sally Sommers, Wessex Internet: 07799 413421 / sallysommers@wessexinernet.com
Ben Kennedy, Department for Science, Innovation and Technology: 07825 025653 / ben.kennedy@dcms.gov.uk

Published 11 April 2023