gigabit vouchers

3 Things You Should Know About Gigabit Vouchers If You Are In Rural Areas

The Government is providing up to £210m worth of voucher funding as immediate help for people experiencing slow broadband speeds in rural areas. Vouchers worth up to £1,500 for homes and £3,500 for businesses help to cover the costs of installing gigabit broadband to people’s doorsteps.

What is Gigabit Voucher?

The government is committed to delivering lightning-fast, reliable gigabit-capable broadband to everyone in the UK as soon as possible, working hard with broadband providers to accelerate their commercial development plans.

For hard to reach areas where broadband is more costly to build, the government is investing £5 billion to ensure places are not left behind.

The rollout to hard to reach areas of the UK will be subsidised by government contracts, awarded to broadband providers over the next few years, until the whole of the UK is connected. The rollout has already begun and you can find out more about it here.

If you and your community are not included in any commercial rollout plans and you do not want to wait for your area to be connected through the Project Gigabit rollout, you can apply for UK Gigabit Vouchers through this scheme.

To apply, you must go through a registered supplier. The checker on this page will direct you to suppliers you can speak to about making an application.

You can find out more about the process on this page.

Who is eligible for the scheme?

Home and businesses in rural locations which meet the following criteria can use vouchers to support the cost of installing new gigabit-capable connections when part of a group project.

  • Existing broadband speeds are less than 100Mbps
  • A gigabit capable network isn’t likely to be built to that area commercially in the near future
  • There is no government-funded contract planned or in place to improve the network already

Group projects are when two or more residents and/or eligible businesses get together to combine their vouchers towards the shared cost of installation. Single connections are not eligible for the scheme.  Projects will also be subject to BDUK commercial and value for money assessments.

Your new connection speed must reach:

  • At least double your existing speed if your current speed is less than 50Mbps
  • At least 100Mbps if your current speed is more than 50Mbps

‘Rural’ is defined using agreed standard measures in the relevant part of the UK. For the gigabit voucher premises in the following areas will be defined as rural.

You can check whether your home or business is eligible on the Get a voucher page. The 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.

Business Eligibility

In order to qualify for a business voucher you will be asked to self-certify that you are an Small or Medium size Enterprise (SME), as defined by sections 465 to 467 of the Companies Act 2006 which can be summarised as:

  • Up to 249 employees and annual turnover no greater than £36 million; and/or
  • An annual balance sheet total not exceeding £18 million.

You will be asked to provide evidence of your status as a SME or sole trader.

You will also have to self-certify that the organisation will have received less than 325,000 Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) in public grants over any period of three fiscal years including the current year, including the voucher contribution.

The Special Drawing Rights amount has replaced the €200,000 de minimis grant limit following the UK’s exit from the European Union on the 31st December 2020. The SDR to GBP exchange rate can be found here.

Not-for-profit and charitable undertakings which qualify as SMEs are eligible in the same way that for-profit enterprises are.

How do the vouchers work?

Businesses or residents that are eligible for gigabit vouchers can access the scheme through a supplier.

Voucher funding can only be used through a broadband supplier registered to this scheme as part of a broadband upgrade project shared with your neighbours. A supplier may already be developing a project in your area or they may be able to develop a new project if there is enough demand in your community.

They will need to develop a project proposal to connect you and your neighbours, and then request vouchers on your behalf.  Funding is only committed when a voucher requested on your behalf has been approved by us, and we have your agreement to our terms and conditions.

The chart below shows the step-by-step process to activate a voucher:

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About the Author

Dylan Roberge

Dylan Roberge is a San Francisco-based writer and editor with over a decade of experience covering money saving and deal hunting. Before going freelance, he got his start as an editor at Yahoo Finance. These days he writes about mobile, tech gadgets, and lifestyle subjects for a variety of publications.