Kent broadband top-up voucher
The ‘Getting Britain Building’ Kent top-up funding is now fully committed.
This short-term funding was awarded following a successful bid by Kent County Council to the government’s ‘Getting Britain Building’ fund (a government fund targeted at stimulating employment in the construction and infrastructure build sectors) on the condition that it would create construction jobs within an 18 month timeframe from July 2020.
The government’s standard broadband vouchers remain available for existing projects until the 31 March 2021. Broadband Delivery UK, who administer the broadband voucher schemes, have also announced plans for a new government-funded voucher scheme to go live in April 2021. Further details should be announced by BDUK shortly.
About the scheme
The Kent ‘Top-Up Voucher’ delivered through the government's Rural Gigabit Voucher Scheme aims to help those in the hardest to connect locations to get faster broadband.
From September 2020 residents in Kent will be able to apply for up to £5,500 per residence and up to £3,500 per businesses. The Kent Top Up scheme can only be used in conjunction with the Rural Gigabit Voucher Scheme and will give both residential and businesses a combined value of up to £7,000 available per eligible premises.
All previous criteria remain:
- the premises must be in a rural area,
- have been built for more than 3 years
- not able to access speeds of 30Mbps
- not already in an existing plan for a broadband upgrade.
The scheme increase is currently time limited to the end of March 2021 or until the total amount of funding received for the county has been completely committed. Applications will be awarded on a first-come, first served basis and top-up vouchers will only be granted to schemes that cannot be funded entirely through the government's Rural Gigabit Scheme.
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 100 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 applies:
- 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
- the property must 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
Kent Top-Up Vouchers are only available in conjunction with the Rural Gigabit Voucher Scheme and not other schemes.
How the vouchers work
The step-by-step process that each voucher recipient will go through to activate their voucher is set out below:
- You must find a registered supplier that delivers group projects under the Rural Gigabit Scheme and sign up for a gigabit capable connection.
- Your supplier will make the application for you and guide you through the process.
- Once your voucher application has been received, BDUK will contact you by email to confirm that you are happy to go ahead.
- The supplier will then undertake the work required to connect you.
- 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 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
The Rural Gigabit Voucher website has a list of suppliers who have successfully 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 email@example.com 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