The COVID-19 pandemic has made us all more reliant on internet services. It’s vital that people can keep connected when being asked to stay at home and work remotely. But getting fast, reliable internet access can be a challenge – particularly when several people want to go online at the same time.
The good news is that there’s still time to apply for funding via the Government’s Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme which will help residents with homes and businesses in rural areas install gigabit-capable, full fibre connections to their premises when part of a group scheme.
- Gigabit-capable broadband connections offer the fastest and most reliable speeds available.
- A group scheme means two or more premises need to want a better broadband connection installed by a supplier.
Groups of two or more rural premises with broadband speeds of less than 100Mbps can combine ‘vouchers’ worth up to £1,500 per residential premise and up to £3,500 for each small to medium-sized business (SME) to support the cost of a registered supplier installing new gigabit-capable connections (to more than double current broadband speeds). Vouchers don’t give you actual money to spend – payment goes straight to the broadband supplier towards covering the installation costs.
Connecting Cambridgeshire has also secured funding from the Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Combined Authority to provide an additional top-up of £1,500 per premise to connect groups of rural properties getting less than 30Mbps (residential or business).
Premises that qualify for the top-up will have a total value of £3,000 per residential property and £5,000 per business awarded to the registered supplier.
Eligibility is checked via the postcode search on the Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme website. If the postcode is eligible, results show suppliers in the area registered to the scheme. Contact them to discuss your needs, telling them you want to use the voucher scheme. They will then advise you and guide you through the process.
This scheme only remains open for new applications until 31 March 2021 – or until the funding runs out (the supplier then has a year to complete the connection).
Connecting Cambridgeshire cannot advise on exactly which supplier to use, however, the team can help to support residents with the application process.
Several rural communities are already planning to use the vouchers to improve their connectivity. Find out more about one particular village on the County Council’s website.
If you require further information, please contact the Connecting Cambridgeshire team on firstname.lastname@example.org.