There are three options available currently, each with their own eligibility criteria.
Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme
Broadband funding for rural communities
Please note: The Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme (GBVS) is currently paused and will reopen as soon as possible.
The Department for Science, Innovation and Technology (DSIT) are launching a procurement for the North East of England that will result in gigabit-capable broadband coverage for thousands of properties. The scheme has been placed on hold while DSIT go through the process of contract allocation.
As part of the government’s Rural Gigabit Connectivity programme, hard-to-reach residents and businesses are eligible for additional funding towards the cost of installing gigabit-capable broadband to their premises when part of a group project.
Group projects allow two or more residents and/or small and medium- sized enterprises (SME) to combine their vouchers towards the shared cost of installation. Single connections are not eligible for additional funding.
Rural premises, experiencing speeds below 100 Megabits per second (Mbps), may be eligible for up to £1,500 per resident and up to £3,500 per SME to support the cost of installing new gigabit-capable connections (subject to eligibility rules).
Premises with speeds of less than 30Mbps may also be eligible for additional top-up funding.
See more information about the Gigabit Broadband Voucher scheme.
Broadband Universal Service Obligation (USO)
The Broadband Universal Service Obligation was launched by Ofcom in March 2020.
What is the Broadband USO?
From March 2020, residents and businesses in the UK will have the legal right to request a decent and affordable broadband connection. A decent connection has been defined by the government as receiving download speeds of at least 10 Mbps and upload speed of 1 Mbps.
Residents and businesses can access up to £3,400 to help cover the connection costs of getting a faster broadband service, subject to meeting the following eligibility requirements:
• Has no access to existing decent broadband; and
• Will not be covered by a public broadband scheme offered by the UK and devolved governments in the next 12 months.
If you can only access a decent service but is priced over £46.10 per month, you’ll also have the right to request a universal service connection.
Request can be made directly to BT.
How long does it take to set up?
Connection time scales can vary due to several reasons however, most people will get connected within 12 months, but in some cases, it could take up to 24 months. More information is available on the Ofcom website.
If you don’t meet the eligibility requirements for the Broadband USO, you may find you can already upgrade to a faster connection through an existing wireless or 4G service.
Under the Digital Drive programme, small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) may be eligible for grant funding of up to 40% towards the cost of:
- • Broadband infrastructure and installation
- • Digital consultancy projects
- • Equipment that will help to improve your business through the use of digital technology
- • Website, app, or software build
Eligibility criteria and minimum project values (£2,500 ex VAT) apply. Further information is available from the Digital Drive website.