Openreach has said more than 40,000 businesses and homes in the South West will have their broadband upgraded as it announced a £12.5m investment to extend its network in the region.
The provider said people working and living in eight locations across Bristol, Devon, Gloucestershire and Somerset would be able to access its full fibre broadband for the first time.
The majority of the investment will be at the two Gloucestershire locations, according to a breakdown of the plans, with approximately £4.65m being spent to connect around 15,500 premises.
The additional reach builds on plans outlined last year by Openreach for more than 810,000 premises across the region, more than half of which are in rural and harder-to-serve areas, to gain access to its new network.
No new locations in Cornwall were included in the announcement, with Openreach saying it had previously announced 63 locations in the Duchy for full-fibre rollout, where its commercial investment is in the tens of millions of pounds.
Similarly, no new locations in Wiltshire were added, with Openreach again saying it had invested tens of millions of pounds to rollout full-fibre broadband in more than 30 locations in the county including Salisbury – its flagship, first “fully fibred”, city in the UK.
Openreach said it had brought full fibre to nearly 55,000 premises in Wiltshire already, and around 18,000 homes and businesses had taken up a full-fibre service.
Connie Dixon, Openreach’s regional director for the South West, said: “In 2021 our engineers built around 770 metres of new broadband cables every minute – making ultrafast broadband available to another home or business every 13 seconds.
“We’ve already reached six million homes and businesses across the UK with ultrafast, full fibre technology including more than 260,000 across the South West, but we know there’s more to do and we’re committed to doing it.”
A report from the Centre for Economics and Business Research estimates that connecting everyone in the South West to full-fibre broadband could create a £4.3bn boost to the region’s economy.