More than half a million more rural homes and businesses will be given access to better broadband as part of plans “to level up the country”.

Announced today by Digital Secretary Nadine Dorries, an estimated 567,000 hard-to-reach premises across Cheshire, Devon, Dorset, Somerset, Essex, Herefordshire, Gloucestershire, Lincolnshire, East Riding and North Yorkshire are in line to benefit from the government’s £5bn Project Gigabit.

Most of the gigabit-capable connections will be delivered through full fibre broadband cables. This provides the speed and reliability needed for several people to work from home, stream ultra high definition video content and play next-generation online games.

Digital Secretary Nadine Dorries said: “The latest stage of our £5bn Project Gigabit plan will help hard-to-reach homes and businesses out of the broadband slow lane and plug them into the fastest and most reliable connections available.

“This investment is levelling up in action – building new internet connections in our rural communities so people > have the speed, reliability and freedom to live and work flexibly, and take advantage of new technologies.

“The hundreds of thousands of properties across ten English and six Scottish counties are not currently due for a gigabit upgrade from broadband companies or other public schemes. So the government is subsidising the roll out of new internet infrastructure capable of blistering download speeds of 1,000 megabits per second.”