As the Forest’s MP one of the most consistent issues that constituents have raised with me over the last few years is the quality of their internet connection and the work the Government is doing to improve rural connectivity. I know this has been a significant problem for many in our area, and that is why addressing this issue has been one of my main priorities in this parliament.

I am pleased to report that 70.70 per cent of premises across the Forest of Dean now have access to a gigabit-capable broadband connection, capable of download speeds of over 900 megabits per second (Mbps), thanks to the Conservative Government sticking to its plan to deliver ‘Project Gigabit’.

Project Gigabit was announced in 2019 and is a flagship £5 billion programme to enable hard-to-reach communities’ access to lightning-fast gigabit-capable broadband. By sticking to this plan, gigabit coverage across the UK has increased rapidly in recent years – from one in ten households in 2019 to eight in ten today.

Access to gigabit speeds does not just mean being able to seamlessly stream films, TV shows, and shop online all at once. It means better productivity for businesses and new opportunities for local communities with digital infrastructure which will help power our economy, create jobs and improve lives for decades to come. This is especially true in rural areas such as the Forest of Dean where investment in broadband infrastructure is vital, not just to boost growth, but to make rural areas attractive places to live and work, as well as to rejuvenate communities that feel left behind.

The Conservative Government is working with broadband suppliers to achieve at least 85 per cent gigabit coverage of the UK by 2025, and nationwide coverage by 2030. We are already ahead of target and the plan is working. On a local level, myself and my team in Cinderford have been working closely with the Fastershire Broadband Project, which is a partnership between Herefordshire Council and Gloucestershire County Council to help deliver superfast broadband across the two counties, and the internet service provider Gigaclear to ensure the smoothest possible rollout of broadband services across the Forest of Dean.

Moving forward, I will continue to monitor the Government's progress closely as the broadband roll-out progresses and I would encourage any constituents who are facing persistent issues with their broadband to contact my office.

Contact me: [email protected] | | House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA | @Mark_J_Harper |