£2m to boost gigabit broadband for businesses in four trial areas (UK)

Registered suppliers of broadband connectivity will be able to offer businesses in 4 trial areas grants of between £500 and £3,000 to help pay for new gigabit-capable* connections, as part of a new pilot scheme designed to increase demand for, and reduce the cost of, full fibre infrastructure across the UK.

Grants under the pilot ‘Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme’ will generally be restricted to connections that are physically delivered using a fibre optic cable directly into the premises (FTTP). £2m in total will be available for the 4 areas, which will be treated as a single challenge fund operating either until the money ends or 31 March, 2019, whichever comes sooner.

The four trial areas are

  • Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire
  • Bristol, with Bath and North East Somerset **
  • Coventry and Warwickshire
  • West Yorkshire Combined Authority (Bradford, Calderdale, Kirklees, Leeds, Wakefield and York)

The pilot is part of the Local Full Fibre Networks Programme, which is channelling £200m to help fund local projects that will leverage local and commercial investment in full fibre across the UK.

£740m from the government’s £23bn National Productivity Investment Fund has now been earmarked for the Digital Infrastructure Investment Fund announced earlier in the year, while new legislation will also enable business rates relief for new fibre.

  • Typically delivered over fibre optic lines and providing speeds of 1,000 Mbps, gigabit internet is the next generation of broadband services. Its many benefits include
  • allowing massive files to be uploaded and downloaded in seconds
  • enabling widespread use of videoconferencing within organisations
  • providing unprecedented reliability and greatly enhanced resilience
  • ‘future proofing’ by ensuring businesses have the technology to deal increasing demands for speed and connectivity
  • allowing remote rural businesses to compete technologically with companies in major cities with full-fibre connectivity

** £500 vouchers will be available only in the Bristol, with Bath and North East Somerset area to connect homes.

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