The UK Government has started a new scheme called “The Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme” it was first launched in March 2018 and is now being extended in April 2021. The new scheme will help households and businesses with poor broadband speeds, they will be able to apply for up to £1500 voucher to help them install faster broadband. It is to ensure Brits who are staying and working from home due to the Coronavirus Global Pandemic and to ensure that they stay afloat as they work from home. Millions of workers are working from home and leaving them reliant on their usual home broadband which in some rural areas their is hardly any broadband.
The UK has estimated that there is more than one million hard to reach homes and businesses that will have the next generation gigabit broadband built to them in the first phase of a £5 billion government infrastructure project. The new vouchers will see households get up to £1500, and business will get up to £3500 and it will be available from April 8th, 2021. Up to £210 million will be made available to give people in eligible rural areas in immediate financial help to get gigabit speeds. More than 66,000 vouchers worth up to £127 million have been issued to properties across the UK.
The Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “Project Gigabit is the rocket boost that we need to get lightning-fast broadband to all areas of the country.” “This broadband revolution will fire up peoples businesses and homes, and the vital public services that we all rely on, so we can continue to level up and build back better from this Pandemic.”
Digital Secretary Oliver Dowden said: “Project Gigabit is our national mission to plug in and power up every corner of the UK and get us Gigabit for the future.” “We have already made rapid progress, with almost 40% of homes and businesses now able to access next-generation gigabit speeds, compared to just 9% in 2019. Now we are setting out our plans to invest £5 billion in remote and rural areas so that no one is left behind by the connectivity revolution.” “That means no more battling over the bandwidth, more freedom to live and work anywhere in the country, and tens of thousands of new jobs created as we deliver a game-changing infrastructure upgrade.”
The UK Government are also in talks with Elon Musk about how to fix broadband for remote areas by using his satellite network.
Internet regulator Ofcom has already previously got tough on poor service providers. It ordered them to offer customers automatic refunds of up to £8 per day for problems with their service such as if slow speeds need to be fixed and aren’t resolved within two working days.
HOW TO APPLY?
The vouchers will be made available to homes and businesses in rural locations where existing broadband speeds are below 100mbps and where there are no plans to improve the network either privately or by the government. To qualify you will also need to be part of a group project of two or more homes and/or businesses who will combine their voucher’s, so you cannot do it just for your own home. There will be an online postcode checker available on the Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme website once the scheme goes live on April 8th, so people can check if their home or businesses is eligible. The vouchers will only be made available through a supplier that is registered with the scheme, which you can find out once it goes live. The postcode search will list suppliers that are active in your area. Your chosen supplier will be able to advise and support your eligibility and guide you through the process. Once you find a registered supplier, you can apply through them and they will then request a voucher. If approved, your supplier will start working on the connection and once completed the government will check if the service is live and functioning. As many as 510,000 homes and firms long plagued by poor broadband will get subsidies as part of Project Gigabit.