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:

​The Rural Gigabit Voucher Scheme is the second wave of the Government's Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme to help homes and businesses in rural areas install a gigabit-capable* full fibre connection to their premises when part of a group project (two or more residents and/or SMEs get together to combine vouchers).  The demand-led scheme was launched in May 2019, to support connections for groups of SMEs and homes in rural areas, as part of the £200m Rural Gigabit Connectivity (RGC) programme. It is expected to remain open for new applications until 31 March 2021 (or until the funding runs out).

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.

Government guidance for community groups can be found here

Find out more about the Rural Gigabit Voucher Scheme here.

Check if you are eligible using the Gigabit Voucher postcode search. If you meet the rurality criteria for a Rural Gigabit Voucher this will list active suppliers in your area.

*Gigabit-capable means that the connection can handle speeds of 1,000 Megabits per second but users only sign up to speeds they can afford. As demand increases, users can choose the option to pay for more speed as required

This scheme ran in conjunction with the Government's Building Digital UK (BDUK) unit until December 2019.  It is now closed.

The Better Broadband  Voucher Scheme was a UK-wide government subsidy scheme to provide an affordable, basic broadband installation to homes and businesses experiencing the poorest speeds. The Scheme provided a voucher worth up to £350 (via a registered service provider) for basic broadband installation to eligible homes and businesses.

​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); or

  • if 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?

Use BT's address checker here 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 BT (www.bt.com/broadband/USO).

It can take up to 12 months and in some cases up to 24 months.