Quickline wins £60m government contract to connect thousands of rural properties in Yorkshire

Quickline Communications, the East Yorkshire-based specialist rural broadband provider, has been awarded a contract under the government’s £5bn Project Gigabit programme.

The £60m Project Gigabit contract recognises Quickline’s track record of bringing rapid and reliable broadband to rural communities. Photo: Hull News & Pictures.

The deal will subsidise the rollout of a full fibre network to more than 28,000 hard-to-reach rural homes and businesses across the West Yorkshire and York area, including communities in North and East Yorkshire, which have been left behind by commercial rollouts.

Communities to be connected include those surrounding Selby, York, Bradford, Kirklees, Leeds, Wakefield, Harrogate, Skipton, Ripon, Keighley, Calder Valley, Stamford Bridge and Pocklington. 

Built using XGS-PON technology, capable of supporting speeds of up to 10Gbps, Quickline’s full fibre network will enable its current and future ISP partners to serve customers with far faster and more reliable broadband services than legacy copper-based networks.

As part of the contract, Quickline has also committed to an extensive social values programme to educate, enrich and enhance the region by generating jobs and providing training, including creating apprenticeships and accredited training courses.

Through new partnerships with organisations such as STEM Learning, Tech She Can and the Institution of Engineering and Technology, Quickline will invest in a series of learning and engagement initiatives for thousands of students, of all ages, to develop a sustainable and skilled workforce and enable growth in the region.

The contract has been secured by Quickline following a competitive public procurement process and totals £60m of government subsidy.

Quickline will make further private investment alongside Project Gigabit to roll out its full fibre network to an additional 58,000 premises.

Project Gigabit is the government-backed programme to connect hard-to-reach areas which, without government intervention, would miss out on fast and reliable, gigabit capable broadband.

Sean Royce, CEO at Quickline, said: “We are extremely proud to be chosen as a delivery partner to the government for rural connectivity.

“Our mission at Quickline is to connect the unconnected to a world of possibilities by building a fast and reliable broadband network for rural communities.

“Project Gigabit is transformational and we are thrilled to play our part in changing the lives of people living in rural West Yorkshire, alongside parts of North and East Yorkshire.

“But this is about more than just broadband; we’re passionate about supporting rural communities, driving economic growth, creating jobs and helping to build the future digital workforce.”

Digital Infrastructure Minister Julia Lopez said: “We’ve hit a huge milestone in connecting a million homes and businesses in hard-to-reach communities across the country to fast, reliable broadband. In a huge boost for Yorkshire, Quickline can now get started on work to connect communities in rural areas in many parts of the county, improving lives for residents, helping businesses grow and supporting the economy.”

Mandy Ridyard, Business Advisor to the Mayor of West Yorkshire, said: “We’re thrilled to see gigabit-capable internet connections start to roll out to rural and hard-to-reach homes and businesses in West Yorkshire.

“Access to fast and reliable internet is vital for our businesses to thrive, for our children to be educated, and for our people to be informed and connected.”

Work is already underway in the region with Quickline’s engineers installing a network in the village of Skelmanthorpe, near Huddersfield, in West Yorkshire, with connectivity to the first 300 premises due in the coming months.

Quickline is majority owned by Northleaf Capital Partners, a Toronto-headquartered global private markets investment firm, was advised by Trowers & Hamlins LLP and received specialist bid support from Project Advisory Group (PAG).