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Superfast Worcestershire

Complementary Schemes

The Superfast Worcestershire Partnership is working to bring superfast broadband connectivity to 97% of homes and businesses in Worcestershire by Summer 2021. Whilst great progress has already been made and superfast speeds are available to over 95% of Worcestershire premises, areas without access to superfast speeds still remain.

For those in the remaining 3%, there are a number of funding schemes available, aimed at supporting communities and businesses.

Summary of the schemes:


New UK Gigabit Voucher Scheme launched by the UK Government

DCMS Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme

As part of the wider £5bn Project Gigabit programme the UK Government started a new rural focused £210m gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme on the 8th April 2021. This additional investment in the Voucher Scheme will continue supporting the cost of installing faster and more reliable full fibre broadband connections for small to medium sized business and the local communities around them.

In this follow-on scheme the eligibility criteria has been narrowed so that only those premises in the remotest areas are eligible, using Ofcom’s Area 3: Non-Competitive Areas (Opens in new window) criteria where Openreach is the only operator providing large-scale network.

With the increase in use of cloud-based services, streamed services, voice and video conferencing and cyber security measures that was predicted for 2020, the move to homeworking for many has made this even more important. Gigabit capable connections will allow users to increase download and upload speeds according to their home needs but more and more around working from home. This huge leap in connection speeds has benefited those already on full fibre but through this voucher scheme will widen the benefits for you and your business into the future.

Graphic - £3,500 for eligible business premises, £1,500 for residential premises. For those with existing connections less than 30Mbps download speeds Gigabit-capable connectionEach eligible business can claim up to £3,500 against the cost of connection either individually or as part of a group project. Residents can claim a voucher worth £1,500 as part of a group project. (Group projects must have a ratio of 1 business to 10 residential premises.)

For full details about whether you are eligible for a voucher and to connect you to a full fibre broadband supplier, go to the UK Government Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme website (Opens in new window).

As of May 2021, DCMS data shows that the UK Government has allocated £159.2m of support through the voucher schemes throughout the UK. So, if you'd like to give your business and community a faster connection, don't delay!

Here's how the process works (more information is available in FAQ28https://www.superfastworcestershire.com/#faqs).

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Broadband Universal Service Obligation (USO)

The new USO is a UK-wide measure, intended to fill the gap left by the UK Government’s existing broadband roll-out programs, to deliver broadband connections to the hardest to reach premises in the UK. Ofcom reported that as of May 2017, 1.1 million premises (4%) in the UK would qualify for the USO.

At present around 95% of the UK (and Worcestershire) can already order a fixed “superfast broadband” (24Mbps+) connection and by 2020 this is expected to reach around 98%, which means that the new USO will be primarily focused upon helping to cater for those in the final 2%; estimated to be somewhere around 300,000 to 500,000 premises nationwide in 2020.

The USO is being delivered by Ofcom, and customers have been able to request a USO connection since March 2020. The USO will give UK households and businesses currently receiving less than 10Mbps download and not due to receive a service from a publicly-funded roll out programme, the right to request a decent broadband connection of at least 10Mbps (download) and 1Mbps (upload) up to the installation cost of £3400. Where costs are over £3400, consumers will be required to contribute the excess costs or do some of the work themselves.

For information can be found here: http://www.ofcom.org.uk/phones-telecoms-and-internet/advice-for-consumers/broadband-uso-need-to-know 

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Future funding & Community Pathfinder Project with Airband

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Rural Gigabit Connectivity Programme (Now closed)

The scheme is currently closed for new applications, however, a new scheme is due to be launched, by DCMS, from April 2021.

Following the success of the Gigabit Voucher scheme, the UK Government announced a new scheme in April 2019 called the Rural Gigabit Connectivity Scheme (RGC.)

As part of the Government's RGC programme, businesses and residents in some of the hardest to reach places in the UK are eligible for additional funding towards the installation costs of a gigabit-capable connection to their premises.

The key characteristics of the RGC voucher eligibility are:

Whether you live or work in an area with little broadband service or are looking to upgrade to ultrafast speeds to future-proof your home or business, more information can be found here: gigabitvoucher.culture.gov.uk.

Here's how the process works (more information is available in FAQ28https://www.superfastworcestershire.com/#faqs).

  1. Contact our team on superfast@worcestershire.gov.uk to check if there is already a scheme underway in your area
  2. If not, use the Gigabit postcode checker to find a supplier in your area: gigabitvoucher.culture.gov.uk/for-residents/suppliers/
  3. Contact your chosen supplier to confirm your eligibility (rural classification)
  4. Identify premises to be included in the project - you may wish to check your premises' status on our website #where-when There's a helpful guide to forming a community project here: www.gov.uk/government/publications/community-led-broadband-schemes/guidance#before-you-start-forming-a-community-group-and-deciding-on-the-best-solution
  5. Register with your chosen supplier
  6. Supplier provides a quote, group accepts and is given a build timescale

The Superfast Worcestershire team would be really happy to support you and we'd love to keep in touch with you about your Community-led broadband scheme. We've been heavily involved with Worcestershire businesses and residents utilising the Rural Gigabit Connectivity scheme and are currently ranked in the top 5 Local Authority league table for voucher uptake!  

Superfast Worcestershire Top up Scheme

Rural residents and small to medium-sized businesses (SME) in Worcestershire can now benefit from the fastest and most reliable broadband connectivity if they choose a gigabit-capable service as part of a group project. 

Worcestershire County Council will pay up to an additional £1,500 per residential premises and £3,500 per SME, double the existing amounts available under the Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme, in order to help connect harder-to-reach groups of rural properties. In order to be eligible, all premises must be in a rural area, unable to access speeds of 100Mbps or above, and not in an existing government-funded plan for a broadband upgrade.

Premises

UK Government’s Rural Voucher Scheme

Superfast Worcestershire top-up available

Total funding available for installation

Homes

£1,500

£1,500

£3,000

SMEs

£3,500

£3,500

£7,000

Group projects are when two or more residents or businesses get together to combine their vouchers towards the cost of connections. No separate application is required as eligible properties will receive the top-up funding when benefiting from a Rural Gigabit Voucher through a registered supplier.

Here's how the process works (more information is available in FAQ28https://www.superfastworcestershire.com/#faqs).

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5G Testbed trials

Worcestershire was successful in its bid for Government funding to test and explore 5G connectivity, in order to revolutionise the way future business will operate both in the UK and globally.

The Worcestershire 5G Consortium is ompleting the country’s most comprehensive industrial 5G Testbed trial, with a team of 5G specialists and business experts pioneering the concept of ‘Industry 4.0’, aiming to revolutionary platform for local and national businesses to develop next-generation technology focused on improving the UK’s industrial productivity.

The consortium of partners includes local infrastructure providers, national network operators and research and development facilities. They are: Worcestershire County Council, 5GIC at University of Surrey, AWTG, Huawei, O2, BT, and Malvern Hills Science Park. Click here for more detail.

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Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme (Now Closed)

Full fibre broadband connections offer the fastest and most reliable speeds available, and the government is committed to a vision of a full fibre Britain. As part of this commitment in March 2018 DCMS announced £67m Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme. All funding was fully committed and the scheme closed in May 2020.

Gigabit vouchers can be used by small businesses and the local communities surrounding them to contribute to the installation cost of a gigabit capable connection. Businesses can claim up to £2,500 against the cost of connection either individually or as part of a group project. Residents can benefit from the scheme as part of a group project which also includes businesses, and can claim for a voucher of up to a value of £500.

In Worcestershire, 338 vouchers, worth £677k have been secured  - 230 of these were business. 

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If you have any queries, in the first instance please review our FAQ section. If you are unable to find information you need please contact us at superfast@worcestershire.gov.uk.