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New Funding Scheme for Rural Broadband Connections

Wednesday 12th June, 2019

New Funding Scheme for Rural Broadband Connections

Following the success of the Gigabit Voucher scheme, the UK Government announced a new scheme in April called the Rural Gigabit Connectivity scheme.

As part of the Government’s Rural Gigabit Connectivity programme, businesses and residents in some of the hardest-to-reach places in the UK are eligible for additional funding towards the cost of installing gigabit-capable broadband to their premises.

The following summarises the key characteristics of Rural Gigabit voucher eligibility:

  • Available in defined “rural” areas (by postcode in all parts of the UK)

  • Available to those with existing broadband speeds of less than 30 Mbps

  • Up to £3,500 for eligible SMEs (including self-employed) and up to £1,500 for residents

  • Applications must include a minimum of 2 residential or SME premises (single connections are not eligible)

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: https://gigabitvoucher.culture.gov.uk/rural/.

Here's how the process works:

  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

  4. Identify premises to be included in the project – you may wish to check your premises' status on our website. https://www.superfastworcestershire.com/#where-when There's a helpful guide to forming community projects 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 £200 million scheme is set to run for 2 years and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) will also be trialing a model connecting local hubs in rural areas, starting with primary schools. Working with the Department for Education, DCMS has identified the first 31 schools eligible for a connection under the scheme. These new speeds will enable whole classes to simultaneously surf the internet as part of structured lessons, and gives schools easier access to online training and educational learning.

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 Gigabit Voucher scheme and since its launch in May 2018 we have supported many communities in securing over £500,000 worth of vouchers, with many more nearing contract signatures.

superfast@worcestershire.gov.uk

01905 846432

Find us on Facebook (@broadbandworcs)

 

The Gigabit Voucher scheme is still running for those who aren’t classified as rural!

Gigabit vouchers can be used by businesses and the local communities surrounding them to contribute to the installation cost of a gigabit capable (ultrafast) connection. If you are a small or medium business and meet the eligibility criteria, you can claim up to £2,500 each against the cost of broadband connection. Each eligible business within the project area can claim £2,500. Additionally any residents included in the group project can also benefit from up to £500 per premises (groups must have a minimum ratio of 1 business to 10 residents.)

To help with the process, here are some simple step by step instructions:

  1. Visit https://gigabitvoucher.culture.gov.uk/ to review voucher eligibility criteria

  2. Identify premises to be included in the project – you may wish to check your premises' status on our website: https://www.superfastworcestershire.com/#where-when

  3. Register your project with the chosen provider.

Please keep our team informed (superfast@worcestershire.gov.uk) – we will help you along the way!