Following on from our last post about local company Airfast, we want to make you aware of two Government initiatives (the broadband USO and the Rural Gigabit Vouchers) that you may wish to investigate…
The need for faster broadband speeds is a key concern for many residents and local businesses, as more smart technology and cloud applications are introduced and utilised in homes and companies.
Please find some information below courtesy of Surrey County Council that will give you a bit more insight in how you might be able to access grants of up to £1500 for residents and £3500 for businesses through the Rural Gigabit Voucher Scheme…
First, find out your current speed
To find out what broadband speeds you can currently access, please visit Ofcom’s website:
- https://www.ofcom.org.uk/phones-telecoms-and-internet/advice-for-consumers/advice/ofcom-checker for fixed broadband and mobile broadband.
Option 1 – Broadband Universal Service Obligation (USO)
The Broadband Universal Service Obligation (USO) enables all UK residents and businesses who can currently only access very slow broadband speeds, the legal right to request a broadband service of at least 10 Mbps from BT.
For more information on the USO and how to apply, please see https://www.ofcom.org.uk/phones-telecoms-and-internet/advice-for-consumers/broadband-uso-need-to-know
Option 2 – Rural Gigabit Vouchers
Commercial network providers such as Openreach, Virgin Media, Box Broadband, B4SH, Surrey Hills Internet as well as Mobile Network Operators are anticipated to connect the vast majority of Surrey premises to gigabit (1000 Mbps) speeds in the next decade or so – possibly sooner.
However, the Government acknowledges that some intervention is needed to ensure that the remaining premises are not left behind.
As part of their intervention, a voucher scheme has been introduced that some Limpsfield residents and businesses may be eligible for…
Before investigating the vouchers, please check your existing download speeds (using the Ofcom links above) to ensure your home or business can’t already access gigabit speeds.
These vouchers are available for community groups in Defra designated rural areas that are not gigabit capable and currently have broadband speed of less than 100 Mbps.
A group consists of at least two residential premises or small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) or a mixture of the two that get together to combine their vouchers towards the shared cost of installation.
Vouchers worth up to £3,500 for each SME and up to £1,500 per residential premises are available towards the cost of installing new gigabit-capable connections. Single connections are not eligible for additional funding.
- Form a group with neighbours who are interested in getting gigabit speeds
- Visit https://gigabitvoucher.culture.gov.uk/for-residents/suppliers/ to find out which suppliers are active in your area.
- The chosen supplier will advise the group on their rural eligibility and guide them through the process. The supplier will then send the group a quotation for deploying gigabit infrastructure to all the premises in their group.
- Depending on the size of the group and the number of vouchers, the vouchers may cover all of the cost, otherwise the group may still have to fund some of the infrastructure deployment.
- If the group agrees to go ahead with the quotation, then the supplier will apply for the vouchers on their behalf. The vouchers are issued to the supplier only to offset the cost of installation to premises.
- Once the infrastructure has been installed, residents and businesses benefitting from these vouchers are required to take up a service with a minimum of 30 Mbps download speed and at least double current speed (delivered on gigabit-capable infrastructure).
So, for example if someone currently has a service of:
- 10 Mbps, they will have to take out a service of at least 30 Mbps
- 15 Mbps, they will have to take out a service of at least 30 Mbps
- 30 Mbps, they will have to take out a service of at least 60 Mbps
- 60 Mbps, they will have to take out a service of at least 120 Mbps
- 80 Mbps, they will have to take out a service of at least 160 Mbps
What are you waiting for? Talk to your neighbours or other nearby businesses and form a gigabit group!
For terms and conditions and more information, please see https://gigabitvoucher.culture.gov.uk/rural/