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Quickline awarded second government contract to connect thousands of homes in hard-to-reach communities

10 April 2024

Thousands of homes and businesses in rural South Yorkshire will get access to gigabit-capable broadband after Quickline Communications was awarded a second contract under the government’s £5 billion Project Gigabit programme.

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Project Gigabit is the UK government’s programme to connect hard-to-reach areas which, without government intervention, would miss out on fast and reliable, gigabit capable broadband. It means households will no longer have to struggle with limited bandwidth, and businesses will be able to improve their productivity, no matter where they are.

The latest win means Quickline is now one of only a handful of providers across England with multiple Project Gigabit contracts, covering a combined total of more than 60,000 premises and worth over £104 million in public funding.

The new deal will fund the rollout of a full fibre network to up to 32,100 premises across rural South Yorkshire, along with homes and businesses in East Yorkshire, North Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire.

It comes just weeks after East Yorkshire-based Quickline was awarded a £60 million Project Gigabit contract covering 29,000 rural premises in West Yorkshire and parts of North and East Yorkshire.

The new contract will see the connection of outlying communities situated around Barnsley, Doncaster, Epworth, Goole, Maltby, Penistone, Rotherham, Sheffield and Worksop.

Quickline will connect a further 29,000 homes and businesses as part of its commercial network build.

Quickline’s full fibre network will be built using advanced XGS-PON technology, which can support speeds of up to 10 Gbps and plays a crucial role in shaping the future of digital connectivity.

The latest contract was awarded to Quickline following a competitive public procurement process and is worth £44 million in government subsidy.

It makes Quickline, which is backed by Northleaf Capital Partners, one of the UK’s largest rural broadband providers.

Including its associated commercial fibre build and its current coverage, Quickline’s full fibre footprint will ensure over 200,000 deep rural premises are taken out of broadband poverty. This is in addition to another 200,000 rural premises able to connect to Quickline’s next generation fixed wireless network.

As well as building a broadband network, Quickline will also play a key role in ensuring economic growth across the region with the delivery of a wide-ranging social values programme seeing the creation of jobs, apprenticeships, training courses, work placements, workshops, mentoring and more.

Quickline CEO Sean Royce said: “We are incredibly proud to have been awarded a second Project Gigabit contract and one that is again in a very important area for us.

“Our roots are in Yorkshire and Lincolnshire and as a broadband provider we have a very strong regional focus. We employ people from Yorkshire and Lincolnshire, we deliver broadband to the people of Yorkshire and Lincolnshire and we want to play our part in the growth and economic development of Yorkshire and Lincolnshire.

“Winning the contract for South Yorkshire, on the back of the one for West Yorkshire, reinforces the important role Quickline is playing in connecting hard-to-reach communities across the region, and how we are supporting the government in achieving its ambitions.

“We remain steadfast in our mission to connect the unconnected and, through our support of Project Gigabit, we will continue to do that, changing and improving the lives of thousands of people who live in rural areas.”

Digital Infrastructure Minister Julia Lopez said: “Thanks to Project Gigabit, thousands of rural homes and businesses across South Yorkshire will soon be able to access the fastest broadband speeds on the market.

“Today marks an important milestone in our drive to tackle poor connectivity in Yorkshire. From Barnsley to Doncaster, patchy connectivity will soon be a thing of the past and lightning-fast broadband will open up new opportunities, driving employment and economic growth."

Following the signing of the contract, Quickline has rapidly started work in the region. Teams are now active in the village of Woodsetts, in the Metropolitan Borough of Rotherham, and in the Westwoodside area of North Lincolnshire, with the first customers set to be connected by the end of the summer.

Pictures: Hull News & Pictures.

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