In May of this year, the UK Government launched the Rural Gigabit Connectivity programme with £200 million of funding. Designed to help both individuals and businesses in some of the UK's hardest to reach locations receive ultra-fast, full-fibre broadband, the scheme is a welcome addition to the Government's already popular Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme.
Key Differences Between The Rural Connectivity Programme And The Existing Gigabit Scheme
The key differences between the existing Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme (GBVS) and the new Rural Gigabit Scheme are outlined below:
- Up to £3,500 available for rural SMEs (only £2,500 for the GBVS)
- Up to £1,500 available per rural household (only £500 for the GBVS)
- A minimum of 30Mbps or lower with current connection
- The new rural connection can start with as low as 30Mbps (GBVS is 100Mbps+) although it must be capable of 1Gbps at a later date
- Applicants must be part of a scheme (with a minimum of 2 connections & 2 customers involved) so that the vouchers can be pooled together to pay for the connection
- The premises must be in a rural location
Where Is Rural?
Rather than having a subjective definition of where 'Rural' actually is across the UK, the Rural Gigabit Scheme has defined 'rural' as per the standard measures currently used in each relevant location in the UK.
More on this can be found in each of the links below:
- England & Wales
DeFRA definitions D1 – F2
- Northern Ireland
NISRA definitions E – H
NRS definitions 3 – 6
How To Apply?
The good news is that to apply for the Rural Gigabit Connectivity scheme the process is exactly the same as the main Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme. All you need to do is contact a registered supplier for the scheme, such as Connect Total, and we will look after the rest. To find out more about each of the steps involved, please check our recent blog on How To Apply For The Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme.
Is It Really Worth It?
The Rural Gigabit Connectivity programme is an excellent step forward and will help rural communities to obtain the access to faster broadband connections they deserve. For too long rural locations have been badly served in terms of their broadband connectivity across the UK, leading to significant disadvantages for these communities. Now both businesses and households can receive significant funding through the Rural Connectivity Scheme in order to install a gigabit capable connection at their premises.
If you would like to find out more about the Rural Gigabit Connectivity programme, please click on the link below to get in touch and we can talk you through each of the steps involved and answer any questions you may have.