Support

Superfast Northamptonshire is investing funding from the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD), from Government and from North and West Northamptonshire Councils to extend gigabit capable broadband infrastructure in the county. EAFRD is supporting the build of full fibre networks in rural areas with Gigaclear. Find out more on the Roll Out Schedule web page. For other support and advice on improving broadband connectivity see below.

Further support 

​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.

To date, the Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme has committed over £137m to support gigabit connectivity to more than 72,000 households and small to medium-sized businesses. The Government's Gigabit Connection Voucher Schemes have committed around £1.3 million to Northampton benefitting 600 businesses and local residents.

Relaunch in March 2021 

The UK Gigabit Voucher Scheme (UKGV) was re-launched in March 2021 (£210m) and provides complementary support for connectivity to unserved premises.

In November 2022, BDUK announced upgrades to the scheme to target premises in particularly hard to reach areas.

Vouchers

The voucher scheme now provides an increased subsidy of up to £4,500 for eligible residents and businesses  towards the cost of installing gigabit-capable broadband via local community broadband projects. 

Please note that the UKGV scheme will pause in areas which are the subject of a wider Project Gigabit procurement, once that procurement is underway, and until contracts are awarded.  This impacts parts of North Northants which fall within Lot 5 and those parts of North and West Northants which fall within Lot 12.

Find out more and check eligibility

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.

​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.    

​There are a number of factors which can affect the speed of your broadband connection in your home. OFCOM have provided some useful advice to help you improve the speed of your service:

​Mobile broadband coverage can be patchy in some localities and mobile signals do not always perform as well indoors.  Telecoms Regulator Ofcom has provided some useful tips on how to improve your indoor mobile signal and information on how to use wi-fi calling at home on mobile smartphone devices. This allows users to make and receive calls using their broadband connection rather than relying on the mobile phone signal. This can be a lifeline if your mobile network is impacted.

To find out more about mobile coverage in your area, use Ofcom’s mobile coverage availability checker which provides information on the four Mobile Network Operators indoor and outdoor coverage – EE, O2, Three, and Vodafone.

The National Cyber Security Centre supports organisations and the public by providing advice, guidance and responses to cyber security incidents.

Topics covered include:

  • Passwords
  • Protecting data and devices
  • Staying safe online – including using social media, online gaming and shopping
  • Malware, suspicious emails, phishing
  • Education – video conferencing, home learning technology including cyber sprinters resources aimed at children aged 7 – 11 years old.

Further information

National Cyber Security Centre - NCSC.GOV.UK

​As the cost of living continues to increase, what we pay to stay connected and entertained will increasingly come into sharp focus for many households. The Communications Regulator, OFCOM, has set out some helpful tips to help you to ensure you’re not paying more.

​The National Databank is like a food bank, but for mobile data – it provides free mobile SIM cards for people who need internet connectivity. People can get mobile data from their local National Databank.

The National Databank provides free mobile data, texts and calls to people in need via Good Things Foundation's network of local community partners. Community organisations can apply to access the databank, enabling them to provide data to people in their communities who need it. Go to the Good Things Foundation website to find out more  National Databank - Good Things Foundation

How does the National Databank work?

Good Things Foundation created the National Databank with Virgin Media O2, supported by Vodafone and Three. It works like this:

  1. Our partners Virgin Media O2, Vodafone and Three regularly donate mobile data SIM cards to us at Good Things
  1. Members of the National Digital Inclusion Network, which is a network of organisations helping people in their communities powered by Good Things, can apply for data packages anytime
  2. Members of the National Digital Inclusion Network receive, activate and gift the free mobile data to people experiencing data poverty or living on a low income in their community 
  3. People experiencing data poverty or living on a low income can pick up a free mobile SIM card from their local National Databank. (There's over 1,600 organisations currently providing the National Databank across the UK!)