THOUSANDS of Hampshire homes will get faster Internet speed thanks to a Government grant.

More than 1,700 homes and businesses in the New Forest and more than 2,000 premises in Test Valley will get superfast broadband after a £1m grant was awarded by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.

These properties join 59,000 premises already on Hampshire County Council’s Superfast Broadband Programme, which aims to bring fast Internet speeds to 95 per cent of homes and businesses across the county by 2017.

The scheme has been welcomed by business leaders and councillors across the district, who have said it will make a huge difference for people living and working in rural areas of Hampshire.

Peter Heywood-Broomfield, chairman of the Community Broadband Group in the New Forest, said: “The successful bid will make a huge difference to those selected rural parishes, which are too small to be commercially attractive and in danger of being left in a communications desert.”

The work will take place between June and December 2015. People can still sign up to the Hampshire campaign for faster broadband by visiting oadband/broadbandsignup.htm.