Work to bring super-fast broadband to New Forest villages underway

VILLAGERS in the New Forest can look forward to receiving super-fast broadband in the coming months after work started on a system upgrade.

Wessex Internet has begun network construction in Martin and Whitsbury as part of its government contract to roll out full fibre broadband to communities and businesses across the area.

The firm’s teams are now installing the first fibre cables across to Martin, which will act as one of the springboards into the New Forest.

Work has also started in Whitsbury, near Fordingbridge which, along with Martin, Damerham and Rockbourne, will be some of the first communities to be connected to Wessex Internet’s full fibre broadband network in 2024.

Wessex Internet, which specialises in taking full fibre broadband to rural communities, was awarded a £14 million government contract in April to connect 10,500 homes and businesses across the national park to gigabit-capable full fibre broadband over the next three years.

The New Forest scheme comes after the company brought fibre to the community around Bishop’s Caundle, in Dorset, and even to the 14th century Old Wardour Castle, near Tisbury.

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Minister for Data and Digital Infrastructure, Sir John Whittingdale, said: “Starting work to bring gigabit broadband to rural communities across the New Forest marks a significant step forward in enhancing much needed connectivity.

“The government’s £5bn Project Gigabit investment is revolutionising connectivity in hard-to-reach areas across the UK, providing vital services to rural households and boosting businesses with fast and dependable broadband.

Work to install high-speed connectivity at Old Wardour Castle was a challenge... Picture: Wessex Internet

Work to install high-speed connectivity at Old Wardour Castle was a challenge… Picture: Wessex Internet

“We are ensuring these communities are fit for the digital age, and I look forward to seeing how an improved digital infrastructure will transform not only the lives of residents and those working in the New Forest, but the many tourists who flock to the region each year as well.”

Hector Gibson Fleming, Wessex Internet CEO, added: “It’s very exciting to see that construction has started and we are laying some of the first fibre cables that will bring our ultrafast broadband to residents of the New Forest.

“Over the coming months we will continue our close collaboration with the community as we bring the benefits of world-class connectivity to residents and businesses across the New Forest.”

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