The UK Government is seeking to bring broadband speeds of 1000 Mbps to the whole country by 2025. There are a variety of different schemes available to apply for to improve broadband connectivity to homes and businesses. This is alongside various commercial schemes that are being undertaken by broadband suppliers.
Rural Gigabit Connectivity Programme
Residents and businesses can apply for vouchers towards the cost of installing gigabit capable connections. With more of us now working at home, the government is encouraging uptake of these vouchers, with £70 million left to claim.
Homes and business premises with broadband speeds of less than 100 Mbps can use the vouchers when part of a group scheme (2 or more residents or businesses). Single connections are not eligible for funding. New connections should double the current speed, but must be at least 30 Mbps. Applicants must have a rural postcode and select a supplier that is active in the area (you can check if your postcode is eligible at the Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme page).
- Residents can claim up to £1,500 of vouchers
- Businesses can claim up to £3,500 of vouchers (must be classified as a Small or Medium Enterprise)
This scheme is run by broadband suppliers, and the vouchers will be claimed on your behalf towards the cost of installation. Further information about this opportunity is available on the government's Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme website.
In addition to this, Kent County Council is providing a £1,000 top up voucher for rural residents. In order to qualify for this you must be currently receiving broadband speeds below 30 Mbps. Residents whose homes also meet this criteria can therefore claim up to £2,500 worth of vouchers. Further information about this is available on the KCC Kent broadband top-up voucher website.
Kent Rural Fibre Broadband Project
Kent County Council is also working with Building Digital UK (BDUK) and BT Openreach to connect an additional 5,000 homes and businesses across the County with gigabit capable fibre-to-the-premise broadband. You can use the KCC postcode checker to see if your area may benefit from the project.
Universal Service Obligation
From March 2020, if you cannot get a download speed of 10 Mbps and an upload speed of 1 Mbps, you have the right to request an upgraded connection. Please check to see if you are eligible at Ofcom's Your right to request a decent broadband service: What you need to know.
You’ll be able to request a network upgrade for your home or business if:
- You don’t have access to a decent and affordable connection from any provider
- You’re not due to get access to one through a publicly funded scheme within the next 12 months
- You can’t get a connection through a 4G hub
A decent connection is one that can deliver a download speed of at least 10 Mb and an upload of at least 1 Mb. Affordable means that it doesn’t cost you more than £46.10 a month.
If the total cost of improving your broadband is £3,400 or less (excluding VAT), you won’t have to pay towards this work. If it’s higher than this amount, you will need to pay the excess cost (a quote will be provided).
Further information about all of this is available on the KCC https://www.kent.gov.uk/leisure-and-community/broadband.