Manchester telecoms specialist Freedom Fibre has landed a £24m government contract to bring high-speed full-fibre broadband to homes and businesses in rural Shropshire.
The 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.
Freedom Fibre’s network will be rolled out in around 12,000 properties in communities across North Shropshire, transforming broadband speeds and reliability for local residents and businesses.
Freedom Fibre is expected to start network construction in February 2024, with the first properties potentially connected to lightning-fast broadband as early as October 2024.
The award supports the government’s priority to grow the economy, creating better-paid jobs and opportunity across the country.
Freedom Fibre will invest thousands of pounds in a broad range of socio-economic and environmental projects across North Shropshire including running its ‘Freedom Fund’ that offers funding for good and green community-led projects within its build areas.
Minister for Data and Digital Infrastructure, Sir John Whittingdale, said: “Thanks to £24 million in government support, thousands of rural homes and businesses across North Shropshire will benefit from Freedom Fibre’s lightning-fast, reliable broadband.
“Delivering the Prime Minister’s priority to grow the economy, Project Gigabit is equipping regions like North Shropshire with state-of-the-art connectivity infrastructure and preparing them for the digital age, ushering in a new wave of opportunity and economic growth.”
Freedom Fibre is already delivering full-fibre services to a number of locations in neighbouring North West Shropshire, and CEO Neil McArthur added: “We are delighted to be selected to deliver the latest full fibre broadband technology as part of the North Shropshire Gigabit project. The project will end over 100 years of copper-based services and enable the delivery of high-speed full fibre to the UK.
“Freedom Fibre is a network builder and will be working with several internet service providers and the local authorities over the next few years. Wherever possible we will be using existing underground ducts and overhead poles to minimise disruption.”