HOMES and businesses in Dorset with sluggish broadband could be set to experience a major upgrade under a £5billion project.

The first areas being targeted by the Government's Project Gigabit scheme have been announced.

One gigabit is the equivalent of 1,000 megabits, capable of downloading a high definition film in under a minute.

This list of nine locations includes Dorset, however, specifics on the number of properties or which parts of the county will benefit have not been confirmed.

A local supplier contact for carrying out the work in Dorset is yet to be put out for tender by the contract.

But once firms are able to bid for contracts, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) said there should be “spades in the ground” in the first half of 2022

It comes after the Government had to row back on its election pledge of providing the UK with full-fibre broadband by 2025, instead aiming for at least 85 per cent.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “Project Gigabit is the rocket boost that we need to get lightning-fast broadband to all areas of the country.

“This broadband revolution will fire up people’s businesses and homes, and the vital public services that we all rely on, so we can continue to level up and build back better from this pandemic.”

In addition, £210 million worth of vouchers will be available from April 8, allowing eligible residents to ask for up to £1,500 and businesses £3,500 towards the cost of installing gigabit-capable broadband.

Some £110 million has been set aside to support GP surgeries, libraries and schools, while the Government also explores how satellite and 5G technology could be used to connect very hard to reach spots, starting with a call for evidence.

Digital Secretary Oliver Dowden said: “Project Gigabit is our national mission to plug in and power up every corner of the UK and get us gigafit for the future.”

The development comes after regulator Ofcom announced that it will not impose price caps on full-fibre connections provided by firms, as part of new rules.