Kent broadband top-up voucher

We’ve developed a brand-new Kent ‘Top-Up Voucher’ to help those in the hardest-to-connect locations get faster broadband.

This will be delivered through the Government’s Rural Gigabit Voucher Scheme so that Kent residents will benefit from up to £1,000 of additional funding. This means that Kent homes can get vouchers worth up to £2,500 instead of the standard voucher amount of up to £1,500 elsewhere.

About the voucher scheme

The Government has launched the Rural Gigabit 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 30mbps can apply for vouchers worth up to £3,500 for each small and medium size business (SMEs), and up to £1,500 per residential premise 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).

We are providing additional funding of up to £1,000 for eligible Kent residents taking up a Rural Gigabit Voucher. This ‘Kent Top-Up Voucher’ means that homeowners can apply for funding of up to £2,500, compared to £1,500 elsewhere.

Up to £2.8 million has been made available for the Kent Top-Up Voucher which will be allocated on a 'first-come, first served' basis when residents apply for a rural Gigabit Voucher

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

Eligibility

To be eligible for the Rural Gigabit Voucher, 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 but may be eligible for the Government’s standard Gigabit Voucher Scheme.
  • not be able to get a broadband download speed of 30 mbps or more from any provider and be outside the scope of any publicly funded upgrade plans. For example, the Kent BDUK Rural Fibre Broadband Project.

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 Kent Top-Up Voucher funding, the following additional criteria must apply:

  • the property must be in the Kent County Council administrative area.
  • It must be more than three years since the property was built.
  • the property must be a permanent residential dwelling, which is eligible to pay council tax.

Kent Top-Up Vouchers are only available in conjunction with the Rural Gigabit Voucher Scheme and not other schemes.

Read the Gigabit voucher scheme terms and conditions

How the vouchers work

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 Rural Gigabit Scheme and sign up for a gigabit capable connection.
  2. Your supplier will make the application for you and guide you through the process.
  3. Once your voucher application has been received, BDUK will contact you by email to confirm that you are happy to go ahead.
  4. The supplier will then undertake the work required to connect you.
  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.

Apply

Businesses or residents that are eligible for rural gigabit vouchers can access the scheme through a registered supplier, who will apply on your behalf. The Kent Top-Up Voucher will be applied to eligible residential properties as part of this process so there is no need for a separate application.

You can find which suppliers are active in your area by looking up your postcode in the voucher scheme's postcode checker. However, not all of these suppliers will be able to deliver community group projects in hard-to-reach rural locations.

Your chosen supplier will be able to advise and guide you through the process. You can also contact our our broadband team using kentvoucherscheme@kent.gov.uk or by phoning 03000 42 00 09. Our team will also be able to answer specific queries about the Kent Top-Up Voucher.

Setting up community schemes

Across the UK rural communities have successfully improved the broadband connectivity in their area by combining broadband vouchers to create community schemes with their broadband suppliers.

The simplest way to create a community scheme is to approach a registered national or local broadband supplier directly and talk to them about the community’s need for a better broadband service.

An example of a successful community scheme.

The Rural Gigabit Voucher website has a list of suppliers who have successful delivered community projects using a mix of residential and business gigabit vouchers across the UK.

Across Kent, we are aware that the following registered suppliers have delivered community broadband projects either through using rural gigabit vouchers or through other schemes:

If you have any questions, the Kent Broadband Team are here to help. You can contact us through kentvoucherscheme@kent.gov.uk or by phoning 03000 42 00 09.

In addition, the Government has also published a guide to delivering community-led broadband schemes.

About gigabit connections

A gigabit connection is the same as 1,000 megabits and is usually delivered through full fibre connections (e.g. fibre-to-the-premise). Full fibre also supports symmetrical connections which mean that your upload and download speeds are the same.

Over 95% 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 full fibre connections rolled out to meet the future needs of businesses and communities.

Whilst connections delivered under the gigabit voucher scheme must be ‘gigabit’ capable, homes and businesses receiving a voucher only need to take up a broadband service of at least 30 mbps in order to claim their voucher.

Read about our other broadband voucher schemes 

Contact

If you have any questions, the Kent Broadband Team are here to help. You can contact us through kentvoucherscheme@kent.gov.uk or by phoning 03000 42 00 09.