Elon Musk to the rescue! SpaceX chief could save YOUR terrible broadband

Elon Musk discusses future of SpaceX's Starship system

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Last week, Digital Minister Matt Warman met with the Tesla boss in a bid to work together on the UK’s £5bn Project Gigabit plan. This project aims to connect the hardest parts of the country to fast broadband.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden confirmed the Government was not ruling anything out.

The Sun believes this could include a partnership with Musk, one of the world’s most celebrated entrepreneurs.

Mr Dowden said: “We are launching a call for evidence to explore the most experimental and innovative solutions to this problem – whether it’s using low earth orbit satellites to connect a cottage in the highlands, or streaming broadband from high-altitude balloons hovering over the hardest-to-reach locations, we are ruling nothing out.

“Our consultation will help determine which of these ideas are feasible, and which aren’t.”

According to reports, some of the first areas to benefit from the superfast broadband include vital ‘Red Wall’ seats.

These areas will receive a £5billion broadband upgrade and work is set to start as early as next year.

This 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 percent.

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.”

Mr Dowden added: “Project Gigabit is our national mission to plug in and power up every corner of the UK and get us gigafit for the future.

“We have already made rapid progress, with almost 40 percent of homes and businesses now able to access next-generation gigabit speeds, compared to just 9 percent in 2019.

“Now we are setting out our plans to invest £5 billion in remote and rural areas so that no one is left behind by the connectivity revolution.

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“That means no more battling over the bandwidth, more freedom to live and work anywhere in the country, and tens of thousands of new jobs created as we deliver a game-changing infrastructure upgrade.”

Up to 510,000 homes and businesses which have experienced sluggish broadband will be at the front of the queue in Project Gigabit.

These include Cambridgeshire, Cornwall, Cumbria, Dorset, Durham, Essex, Northumberland, South Tyneside and Tees Valley.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) said firms will be able to bid for contracts on the project from spring.

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

Plans for six more locations – Norfolk, Shropshire, Suffolk, Worcestershire, Hampshire and the Isle of Wight – are set to follow in June, covering a further 640,000 premises.

From April 8, a further £210 million worth of vouchers will be available,

This will allow those eligible to ask for help of up to £1,500 and businesses £3,500 towards the cost of installing gigabit-capable broadband.

A further £110million has been set aside for GP surgeries, libraries and schools.

Mr Musk’s Starlink – which is part of SpaceX – has launched more than 1,300 small, low orbit satellites which have already provided broadband to parts of the UK, the Telegraph reported.

The Starlink broadband starts at £89 per month and trial customers were told they would be expanding to remote areas in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

While expensive, users have so far reported speeds in excess of 100mpbs.

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