The Broadband Upgrade Fund
The government has introduced a pilot campaign for homes and businesses in three rural areas of the UK, one of which is Northumberland, called the Broadband Upgrade Fund, as part of the national Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme.
The aim is to help capture public interest in faster, more reliable broadband in each of the pilot areas. This is intended to encourage suppliers to extend their broadband networks to meet demand and the government will help to fund the cost of the work.
Rural residents and businesses (SMEs) with broadband speeds of less than 100Mbps could be eligible for the Broadband Upgrade Fund. The funding is available as small grants known as vouchers worth up to £3,500 for each small and medium-sized business (SMEs), and up to £1,500 per residential property. Once sufficient interest is created in an area or community, the fund generated goes direct to the chosen supplier to offset the cost of delivering the improved service.
Will I have to pay towards the installation costs?
The supplier will apply for funding on your behalf and this will go straight to the supplier, not you. The value of the funding will then contribute to the build costs of installing a full fibre connection at your property. In most cases, the funding provided will pay for the cost of installing the new broadband provided you have enough properties in your group project. That is why it is important to encourage as many of your neighbours as possible to sign up and increase the size of your fund. Sometimes the community may be asked to make a contribution to the overall cost if the funding does not cover it but you do not have to proceed further if you think that it is too much money.
Practical implementation in Bamburgh of Government policy by Openreach
Openreach is planning a 'Connected Communities' upgrade to fibre broadband in the Bamburgh area.
The Parish Council encourages all residents and businesses to sign up and generate interest amongst other interested parties. Openreach will be sending out postcards to all included properties during week commencing 28 September. The exact form of the Bamburgh postcard is not yet available however the Connected Communities website is already open so people can go on now and pledge their vouchers.