Nottinghamshire Gigabit Broadband Voucher

Nottinghamshire County Council have created a broadband ‘top-up voucher’ in conjunction with the Department for Digital, Media, Culture & Sport (DCMS) to help deliver digital connectivity to the hardest-to-reach areas of the county.

This top-up will be delivered through the Government’s Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme in the form of a top-up to the existing rural gigabit voucher, and will double the quantities available under the existing scheme. Nottinghamshire small and medium sized businesses will be able to claim up to £3,500 of additional funding and Nottinghamshire residents will be able to claim up to £1,500 of additional funding. This means that rural businesses will have up to £7,000 available and rural premises will have up to £3,000 available to assist in delivering digital connectivity.

The Government launched the Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme to help connect homes and businesses in the hardest-to-reach places in the UK.

Rural premises with broadband speeds of less than 100Mbps can apply for vouchers worth up to £3,500 for each small and medium size business (SMEs), and up to £1,500 per residential premises to support the costs of a new gigabit-capable broadband connection when they apply as part of a group project (defined as two or more properties).

Premises will have to be located in an area where a gigabit-capable network isn’t likely to be built in the area commercially in the near future, and there can’t any government-funded contract planned or in place to improve the network. In Nottinghamshire, there is additional funding support for premises without access for high-speed, good quality broadband connections. 

Up to £750,000 has been made available for the Nottinghamshire Top-Up to the Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme which will be allocated on a 'first-come, first served' basis when residents and businesses apply for a rural gigabit voucher.

The Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme is operated by BDUK (Building Digital UK) who are a part of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

To be eligible for the Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme, the home or business benefiting from the voucher must:

  • be located in an area defined as rural by Defra definitions D1-F2
  • apply as part of a group scheme. (Group projects are where two or more residents and/or SMEs get together to combine their vouchers towards the shared costs of installation). Single connections are not eligible for this scheme.
  • not be able to get a broadband download speed of 100 mbps or more from any provider and be outside the scope of any publicly funded upgrade plans. For example, the Nottinghamshire BDUK Broadband Project.
  • Not be located in an area that is likely to receive a gigabit-capable network upgrade as part of a commercial delivery in the near future.

In order to qualify for a business voucher applicants will be asked to self-certify that you are a 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 an annual turnover no greater than £36million; and/or
  • An annual balance sheet total not exceeding £18million

Business applicants 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.

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

You can check whether you are likely to be eligible for a rural gigabit voucher by using the voucher scheme’s postcode checker.

To be eligible for the additional Nottinghamshire top-up voucher funding, the following additional criteria applies:

  • the property must reside in the Nottinghamshire County Council administrative area.
  • the property must be a permanent residential dwelling, which is eligible to pay council tax.
  • the property must not be able to receive a fixed-line broadband service providing a minimum of 30 mbps download speed.

Whilst the connections delivered using the Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme must be ‘gigabit’ capable, homes and businesses are not required to take out a broadband package providing gigabit download speeds. You will be required to take out a package on the newly delivered network and your connection speed must reach:

  • At least double your existing speed if your current speed in less than 50 mbps.
  • At least 100 mbps if your current speed is more than 50 mbps.

Nottinghamshire top-up vouchers are only available in conjunction with the Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme and not other schemes.

Read the Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme terms and conditions.

The step-by-step process that each voucher recipient will go through to activate their voucher is set out below:

  1. You must find a registered supplier that delivers group projects under the Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme and sign up for a gigabit capable connection.
  2. Your chosen supplier will make the application for you and guide you through the process.
  3. Once your voucher application has been received, BDUK will make contact via email to confirm that you are happy to proceed.
  4. The supplier will undertake the required work to connect your premises.
  5. After you have been connected, BDUK will email you to check the service is working. They will sometimes make further checks before they pay your supplier.

Businesses and residents that are eligible for rural gigabit vouchers can access the scheme through a registered supplier, who will apply on your behalf. The Nottinghamshire top-up voucher will be applied to eligible premises as part of this process so there is no need for a separate application.

You can check which suppliers are active in your area by looking up your postcode in the voucher scheme’s postcode checker. It is however worth noting that not all of the suppliers will be able to deliver community group projects in hard-to-reach rural locations.

Your selected supplier will be able to advise and guide you through the process. You can also contact the Better Broadband for Nottinghamshire team using enquiries.broadband@nottscc.gov.uk or by phoning 0115 977 2532. Please direct questions regarding the Nottinghamshire top-up voucher to the BBfN team.

In order for residential premises to access the scheme they will need to be part of a group scheme project which involves at least one other residential premises or an SME. Across the UK rural communities have delivered broadband connectivity to their area by using broadband vouchers as part of community schemes with broadband suppliers.

The simplest way to create a community scheme is to approach a broadband supplier who can deliver connectivity in your area and have a conversation about the community’s need for a better broadband service.

An example of a successful community scheme that utilised vouchers to aid delivery

The Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme website lists suppliers which have successfully delivered community projects using the available vouchers in your area when you enter your postcode.

In Nottinghamshire we are aware of the following registered suppliers which have delivered community broadband projects using the available vouchers:

Please note; the list of suppliers provided here is not exhaustive. To check what suppliers are active in your area, enter your postcode into the Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme website postcode checker.

If you have any questions, the Better Broadband for Nottinghamshire team are able to help. You can reach the team via enquiries.broadband@nottscc.gov.uk or by phoning 0115 977 2532

In addition to the assistance offered by the Better Broadband for Nottinghamshire team, the Government have published a guide to delivering community-led broadband schemes

A gigabit connection is a broadband connection capable of delivering download speeds of 1,000 megabits (or 1 gbps) and is typically delivered using full-fibre connections (for example: Fibre to the Premises or FTTP). Full-fibre also supports symmetrical connections which mean that your upload and download speeds are the same.

Over 97% of homes and businesses across the UK have access to a superfast broadband connection (of at least 24mbps). The Government is now keen to see more gigabit-capable connections rolled out to meet the future needs of businesses and communities.

Whilst the connections delivered using the Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme must be ‘gigabit’ capable, homes and businesses in receipt of a voucher only need to take up a broadband service of at least 30 mbps in order to claim their voucher.

If you have any questions concerning the Nottinghamshire top-up voucher, the Better Broadband for Nottinghamshire team at Nottinghamshire County Council are here to help. You can reach the team via enquiries.broadband@nottscc.gov.uk or by phoning 0115 977 2532.

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