VILLAGES near Winchester are about to be given a much-welcomed superfast broadband boost when a government pilot scheme is introduced.

Projects worth £10m will be rolled out across numerous parts of the country, in a bid to tackle the final five per cent of the network by 2017, including Droxford, Owslebury, Lower Upham and Curdridge.

Meon Valley MP George Hollingbery said: “There has been a considerable amount of understandable frustration from many of my constituents that superfast broadband is presently not coming their way by 2017.

“Therefore these pilot schemes are most welcome because it may mean solutions for isolated communities across, not just Hampshire, but the whole country where villages could get this vital boost to the their rural economies sooner.”

He added: “The findings from these pilot schemes will be used to help decide the future approach to this problem.

"Although there are no guarantees about the findings, at least this announcement shows that the Government is alive to the issue.”

The nationwide roll-out programme for broadband has now reached more than one million homes and businesses and is expected to provide a £1.5 billion boost to local economies with 95 per cent connected by 2017.

The initiative will mean that the current UK coverage of superfast broadband is the highest of the top five European economies.