Nearly half a million homes across the south west are to be upgraded to full fibre broadband.

Openreach today outlined plans to build ultrafast, ultra-reliable full fibre broadband to 440,000 homes in the south west.

It means fewer homes and businesses will require taxpayer subsidies to upgrade.

A total of 181 exchanges across the region are being upgraded, with the majority of homes and businesses in places such as Polperro, Torrington, Charmouth, Winchcombe, South Petherton and Pewsey set to benefit from what will be a massive nationwide, five-year feat of civil engineering.

Connie Dixon, Openreach’s regional director for the south west, said: “Building a new ultrafast broadband network across the south west is a massive challenge and some parts of the region will inevitably require public funding. But our expanded build plan means taxpayer subsidies can be limited to only the hardest to connect homes and businesses. And with investments from other network builders, we’d hope to see that shrink further.

“This is a hugely complex, nationwide engineering project – second only to HS2 in terms of investment.

"It will help level-up the UK because the impact of full fibre broadband stretches from increased economic prosperity and international competitiveness, to higher employment and environmental benefits.

“We’ll publish further location details and timescales on our website as the detailed surveys and planning are completed and the build progresses.

"In the meantime, don’t forget that you can also check what’s already available on our website - tens of thousands of homes and businesses across the south west can already access full fibre.”

The company’s updated build plan will be fundamental to the UK government achieving its target of delivering ‘gigabit-capable broadband’ to 85 per cent of UK by 2025.

The plans also include an extension to the company’s biggest ever recruitment drive, with a further 1,000 new roles being created in 2021 on top of the 2,500 jobs which were announced in December 2020 – of which around 200 were in the south west.

With download speeds of 1 Gbps, full fibre is up to 10 times faster than the average home broadband connection.

You can also use multiple devices at once without experiencing slowdown – so more people in your household can get online at once.