Support

​Alongside the public investment to extend superfast and gigabit capable broadband infrastructure in the county, which is being delivered by the Superfast Northamptonshire project, there are other mechanisms for support and advice which may be of interest.

Further support 

Background

The Rural Gigabit Voucher Scheme was a Government initiative to help homes and businesses in rural areas install a gigabit-capable* full fibre connection when part of a group scheme. The scheme was launched in May 2019 as part of the £200m Rural Gigabit Connectivity (RGC) programme. It closed on 31 March 2021 and has been replaced by a new Gigabit Voucher Scheme.

​Background

From March 2020, households and businesses with broadband speeds below 10Mbps are able to request decent connections under the Government's Universal Services Obligation (USO).

The Universal Service Obligation (USO) for broadband is a UK-wide measure intended as a "safety net" to deliver broadband to those premises that do not have access to a decent and affordable connection.

The Government have defined a decent connection as one that can deliver 10 megabits per second (Mbps) download speed and 1 Mbps upload speed (along with other defined quality parameters). Ofcom has defined an affordable connection as one that costs less than £45 per month.

The USO provides a legal right to request a decent broadband connection, up to a cost threshold of £3,400. BT have been designated as the Universal Service Providers responsible for fulfilling requests from eligible consumers.

Who is eligible?

Residents and businesses are eligible for the USO if:

  • they do not have access to a decent broadband connection (10 Mbps download speed, 1 Mbps upload speed and other specified quality parameters); orif the only service available that can provide the minimum criteria costs more than £45 per month; and

  • the property is not due to be connected to a publicly funded roll-out scheme within 12 months; and

  • the connection will cost no more than £3,400 to build (or the customer has chosen to pay the excess above that amount).

Access to a decent connection means by any technology capable of delivering the standard, including wireless networks such as mobile broadband.


How do I check if my property is eligible?

Visit BT's USO web page to find out if your property is eligible.

How can a request be made?

If you meet the eligibility criteria, you can request a connection for your business or home through the BT website. Please note that it can take between 12 months and in some cases up to 24 months for a connection.    

​The UK Gigabit Voucher Scheme is the latest Government initiative to help homes and businesses in rural areas install a gigabit-capable* full fibre connection when part of a group scheme. This means two or more residents and/or businesses get together to combine vouchers towards the shared cost of installation.

Background

Since vouchers were first introduced by Government in 2018, they have been a key tool in incentivising and encouraging suppliers to connect some of the hardest to reach premises in the UK. This latest iteration of the demand-led scheme was launched in April 2021 as part of the wider £5bn ‘Project Gigabit’ programme. It replaces the Rural Gigabit Voucher Scheme which was funded under the £200m Rural Gigabit Connectivity Programme and closed on 31 March 2021.

Vouchers

Rural premises with broadband speeds of less than 100Mbps can use vouchers worth up to £3,500 for each small and medium-sized business (SME), and up to £1,500 per residential premise to support the cost of installing new gigabit-capable connections that more than double their broadband speeds.

To find out more about the UK Gigabit Voucher Scheme and to check eligibility please visit the UK Gigabit Voucher Scheme web site. 

Check eligibility on the Voucher site by scrolling down to the postcode checker.  Enter your postcode and it will allow you to choose an address. If eligible for a Gigabit Voucher you will be able to see a list of active suppliers in your area to approach. 

If you know of a supplier, they must be on the long list of suppliers registered for the scheme, but they are not flagged as active in your locality, you can still make enquiries of them in the first instance to determine interest.

Government guidance for community groups can be found on the government guidance web page.

Definition of Gigabit capable

*Gigabit-capable means that the connection can handle speeds of 1,000 Megabits per second but users only sign up to a speed of service they need or can afford. As demand increases, users can choose to buy a higher speed broadband service as required.