Better Broadband Scheme

The Scheme has been developed by the UK government to ensure that every household and business in the UK can access an affordable basic broadband service.  We define an affordable service as one that costs no more than £400 a year including installation, equipment and monthly fee.

If you are eligible you can apply for a subsidy code until the end of December 2017.

You may already be able to access Superfast Broadband services. You can check current and planned availability of Superfast Broadband services in Northamptonshire by visiting our Interactive “When and Where” map or using the availability checkers below.

BT Availability Checker

Virgin Media Availability Checker

You may be able to get a 4G mobile broadband connection. You can check current availability of 4G mobile broadband services at the Ofcom Mobile Coverage Checker: www.ofcom.org.uk/mobile-coverage.

Wireless broadband services are available in some parts of the county which may provide an alternative solution (although the voucher cannot be used to take up a wireless service).  Information on wireless broadband operators and other telecoms network providers in the county can be found on the Telecoms Providers page.

If you are eligible for the Scheme, you will be issued with a ‘voucher code’ that you will be able to present to one of a selected number of providers when you order a service. 

You will need to enter into a contract for a solution with one of the providers for a minimum period of 12 months.   You will need to choose what level of service or package you wish to take up from that provider.

The voucher will contribute up to £350 towards the cost of equipment and installation of your better broadband service. You will be responsible for paying any remaining cost of installation and commissioning (if any) and VAT. You will also be responsible for paying the ongoing monthly subscription for the service you have selected.  Monthly fees vary depending on the amount of data and speed of broadband connection you choose. The voucher has no other value, and cannot be redeemed in any other way than through the Scheme.

You can apply for a Better Broadband voucher if your home or business premise is located within the county boundary of Northamptonshire and you currently experience poor broadband with download speeds of less than 2Mbps. Further eligibility conditions will be determined by completing the online application form
 
If you are not located in Northamptonshire then a similar scheme may be available to you through a neighbouring project.  If this affects you then go to the Neighbouring Projects page to find contact details.

On receipt of your application, the County Council will check to see if there are any known plans to bring fibre broadband to your area in the near future.  If so then you may not be eligible for a voucher.  This is in your interests as if a better superfast broadband service is expected, it is likely that you will not wish to enter into a minimum 12 month contract with a satellite broadband provider under the Scheme.

​First check that you cannot access superfast broadband (speeds of more than 24Mbps) by using the BT checker to find out what your current broadband speed is, then;

  • If the speed checker identifies that your premise already benefits from speeds greater than 2Mbps you are not eligible for a subsidy

  • If the speed checker identities that your broadband speed is under 2Mbps you might be eligible for a subsidy

  • If there are plans in place to bring superfast broadband to your household or business within 12 months you will not be eligible for a subsidy

  • If there are no plans to bring superfast broadband to your home and your current speed is confirmed as less than 2Mbps you will be eligible

You can apply to benefit from the Scheme by completing a simple online application form.

If you are eligible for a subsidy code you will need to select a broadband package that best suits your requirements from one of the suppliers registered with the Scheme. We also recommend that you research other options available from other suppliers (including those not registered under the Scheme) in case you can access a better offer e.g. you may be offered better terms if you take out a longer contract than you can under this Scheme.

Once a submission is made the County Council will check plans secured through the Superfast Northamptonshire project to see if your home or business is expected to be served by superfast broadband within 12 months. We will advise you whether or not you are eligible for the Scheme. If you are eligible you will receive a voucher code by email and guidance on what to do next.

Yes, you will still be considered for the Superfast Broadband roll out. The current solutions being offered and subsidised through the scheme are considered to be a basic broadband solution and therefore does not change the County Council’s plans which aim to secure countywide access to superfast broadband.

​One of the suppliers offering services through the scheme is BT, via its Community Fibre Partnerships Scheme.  The subsidy can be used to support coverage delivered through a Community Fibre Partnerships project, but the project has to be ready to go live at the time when the eligibility code is claimed (otherwise, the subsidy scheme would be not be providing access in a timely way to an improved service).

​There are strict rules around spending public funding to support the delivery of broadband services.  The government cannot publicy fund two solutions to the same property within the same 12 months.

The County Council will aim to make a decision on your application as quickly as possible and at least within one month of receiving your completed application.  We will advise you of the outcome of your application by email.

If you are eligible for a voucher under the Scheme, you will be sent a unique voucher code via email which you will need to provide to the provider of your choice when placing your order.  You will also be sent a list of the providers currently operating within the Scheme in Northamptonshire. You will then need to contact the providers directly.

If you are not eligible for a voucher under the Scheme, you will receive notification by email. 

Once you have received a unique voucher code, and the list of providers currently operating in Northamptonshire under the Scheme, you should review the services and prices available from each provider.  You will need to select the product that best meets your requirements and the amount of monthly subscriptions you are willing to pay.

You should then contact your chosen provider to order the service you require and provide them with your unique voucher code. The provider will confirm the features of the product you have chosen, and the costs involved in a minimum 12 months service contract, after the voucher has been taken into account.

The voucher will contribute up to £350 towards the cost of equipment and installation of your service. You will be responsible for paying any remaining cost of installation and commissioning (if any), the VAT, and paying the monthly subscription for the service you have selected.

The voucher has no other value, and cannot be redeemed in any other way than through the Scheme.

No, the voucher can only be used with providers operating under the Scheme at the time of your application or whilst the voucher remains valid.

Other providers not operating under the Scheme may also offer services in your area.  You may choose to take up a solution with an alternative service provider but you will not be able to use a voucher issued under the Scheme.  This means that you will have to meet the full cost of installation and commissioning of the service yourself.  Note that such costs may vary between different providers.​

The Better Broadband Scheme is managed by Northamptonshire County Council in partnership with The Department for Culture, Media and Sport and is jointly funded.

© 2015 Superfast Northamptonshire