10,500 homes and businesses in New Forest will be able to connect to full-fibre broadband by early 2024 as the UK government’s Project Gigabit gathers pace.

Wessex Internet will be responsible for switching on scores of properties in and around the picturesque area in southern England after recently securing a £14m contract.

The work will connect a range of hard-to-reach rural areas which have previously been unable to benefit from ultrafast connections.

The local communities in New Forest that will get faster and more reliable speeds for home and work-based tasks include Sway, Hordle, Godshill, Beaulieu and Brockenhurst.

The rollout is part of the government’s £5bn Project Gigabit.

Digital Infrastructure Minister, Julia Lopez, believes New Forest will now have a “state of the art” infrastructure in place for the digital age.

Wessex Internet will now prepare for the start of the project, which will see the construction of networks by late 2023.

The first properties will then be switched on in New Forest by early next year.

It’s the second project that Wessex Internet has secured within the Project Gigabit framework.

The company’s CEO, Hector Gibson Fleming, said there will also be a range of economic and social benefits for the region.

He added: “We will now work closely with the residents and communities across this beautiful national park to deliver this exciting programme.”

Wessex Internet is also in the midst of connecting 7,000 properties in North Dorset after being awarded a contract by the government in the summer of last year.