Swanage and other Purbeck areas to benefit from £33m high-speed internet rollout

INTERNET users in rural areas near Swanage, Dorchester, Sherborne and more will soon be able to enjoy high-speed broadband.

Dorset-based Wessex Internet has won a £33.5 million government contract to deliver lightning-fast broadband to 21,400 homes and businesses in rural areas of south and west Dorset, as well as parts of south Somerset.

The contract was signed as part of Project Gigabit, the government’s £5 billion mission to upgrade digital connectivity in hard-to-reach areas of the country.

It is the fourth Project Gigabit contract awarded to Wessex Internet, and the company’s largest to date, following the announcement in March the supplier would also be delivering the £18.8 million Project Gigabit roll-out for the south Wiltshire area.

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.

“From the first connections we provided to friends and neighbours in 2012, to now being awarded our largest government contract to date, we remain true to these core values.

Hector Gibson Fleming, CEO of Wessex Internet

Hector Gibson Fleming, CEO of Wessex Internet

“Everyone at Wessex Internet is excited we will be extending our service to thousands more people living and working in the new Dorset and South Somerset Project Gigabit area.

“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.”

Planning work on the rollout is already underway, with construction set to start before the end of the year.

The new network will give homes and businesses access to full-fibre connections, when fibre optic cable goes all the way to a home or business, rather than stopping at a cabinet down the road, delivering connection speeds of up to 10Gbps.

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Digital Infrastructure Minister, Julia Lopez (Con, Hornchurch and Upminster), said: “Outdated infrastructure not only hampers economic growth for businesses and communities but also detracts from people’s quality of life.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.”

In Somerset, the new contract includes areas around Glastonbury and Bruton, and rural communities near Dorchester and Sherborne in Dorset.

Residents who want to find out if Wessex Internet is coming to their area can use an online coverage checker at, or call 0333 240 7997.

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