28th May 2021 - BDUK's Call for Evidence

The Department of Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) wants to hear views and experiences of consumers' broadband connectivity in rural and remote areas of the UK and are inviting both residents and businesses to contribute before 11th June 2021.

https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/improving-broadband-for-very-hard-to-reach-premises

8th April 2021 - UK Gigabit Voucher Launch

 

We are pleased to inform you that today marks the launch of the 'UK Gigabit Voucher.'

Announced on 19 March as part of the wider £5bn 'Project Gigabit' programme, the UK Gigabit Broadband Voucher will provide micro grants of up to £1,500 for households and up to £3,500 for businesses in the hardest to reach rural areas (with current speeds of less than 100Mbps) to support the cost of installing new gigabit-capable connections when part of a group scheme.

Since they were first introduced in 2018, Vouchers have been a key tool in incentivising and encouraging suppliers to connect some of the hardest to reach premises in the UK. To date, the Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme has committed over £137m to support gigabit connectivity to more than 72,000 households and small to medium sized businesses.

The UK Gigabit Voucher will build on the success of the Rural Gigabit Voucher Scheme, enabling those in the hardest to reach parts of the UK to benefit from lightning-fast next generation broadband. It will hone in on supporting people in those areas least likely to be included in the commercial plans of broadband suppliers without the incentive of public subsidy, nudging the UK closer to nationwide gigabit connectivity.

It includes a new premises level postcode eligibility checker that enables you to establish your eligibility for the UK Gigabit Broadband Voucher, and information on other support that may be available. This can be accessed here: https://gigabitvoucher.culture.gov.uk/.

Postcode eligibility checker:
https://gigabitvoucher.culture.gov.uk/UK

UK Gigabit Voucher eligibility :
https://gigabitvoucher.culture.gov.uk/home/who-is-eligible/

 

19th March 2021 - Project Gigabit

 

We are delighted to share with you the news that today BDUK have launched 'Project Gigabit', bringing together everything the government is doing to enable and deliver digital connectivity for the entire country.

BDUK will work with local authorities, devolved governments and broadband suppliers to ensure all communities are connected to lightning-fast reliable broadband - leaving no one behind.

Launching in April, Project Gigabit will largely be driven by three core strands:

Project Gigabit: Phase One Delivery Plan: Rooted in learning from the Superfast Programme, this will be a gigabit version of the highly successful gap funding model. BDUK will work closely with local authorities and devolved governments to extend gigabit coverage through a centralised procurement approach.

Hubs: Over the next 3 years, up to £110m of government funding will be invested into connecting rural schools, GP surgeries, libraries and other public buildings to bring new fibre right into the heart of communities for the first time. These buildings will then act as 'hubs', from which industry can connect surrounding homes and businesses. This will build on the success of the RGC Hubs programme.

 Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme: Over the next 3 years, up to £210m will be allocated to deliver a Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme, which we know from experience provides a rapid method for communities to club together and get a subsidised upgrade. These vouchers will be available to rural businesses and households with current speeds of less than 100Mbps in areas unlikely to receive commercial gigabit broadband rollout.

You can read the announcement here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-launches-new-5bn-project-gigabit

Download the Project Gigabit Phase One Delivery Plan document here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/project-gigabit-phase-one-delivery-plan

 

13 Oct 2020 - Better Broadband Scheme Update

 

BDUK's Rural Gigabit voucher scheme is currently available until March 2021. Homes and businesses in rural areas of the UK may be eligible for funding towards the cost of installing gigabit-capable broadband when part of a group scheme. More information can be found Gigabit Voucher Scheme

 

17 Dec 2018 - Better Broadband Scheme Update

 

BDUK have just announced that the Better Broadband Scheme has been extended for a further year until 31st December 2019, ensuring that a subsidised basic broadband installation remains available to eligible applicants. Details can be found here.

 

24 Oct 2018 - Final phase delay for Superfast Berkshire

 

Superfast Berkshire is a very ambitious programme initiated in 2013 and using state aid assistance to give properties in even the most rural areas of Berkshire access to superfast broadband.

 

To date, Berkshire's superfast broadband coverage has risen from 87% to around 97% exceeding the UK average of 95.4%. The story in West Berkshire is even more impressive where here, the most rural area of Berkshire, superfast broadband coverage has increased from 65% to 97% and makes us one of the most digitally connected rural communities in the UK.

 

When the Superfast Berkshire phase 3 contracts were signed in July 2017 with BT Group and Gigaclear we were promised that superfast broadband coverage would exceed 99% across Berkshire by September 2019.

 

However, due to a lack of engineering capacity in the broadband industry and the rapid expansion of commitments on the relative newcomer Gigaclear both suppliers are unable to meet their original contractual delivery targets in Berkshire.

•Gigaclear's phase 2 delivery, in West Berkshire, scheduled for completion by October 2017 is now forecast for May 2019, 20 months behind schedule, with 1,530 of 16,011 premises still awaiting their fibre broadband connections.

•Gigaclear's phase 3 delivery, for Berkshire, scheduled for completion by September 2019 is now forecast for December 2019, 3 months behind schedule.

•BT's phase 3 delivery, for Berkshire, scheduled for completion by December 2018 is now forecast for December 2019, 12 months behind schedule.

 

Dominic Boeck, West Berkshire's Executive Member for Customer Services and Broadband said:

 

"We're working closely with both suppliers to minimise these delays and to meet the broadband expectations of our communities."

 

"We've also experienced quality issues with some of the engineering works already completed by Gigaclear during their phase 2 rollout and we expect that this remedial work will take at least 18 months to complete and will start in November 2018. This will be a separate programme and it should not slow down the rollout of remaining phase 2 broadband connections nor affect those customers whose connections are already live on Gigaclear's network."

 

"Any extra programme costs associated with this late delivery and other remedial works will be borne by the contractors and will not come from public funds."

 

Mike Surrey, Chief Executive at Gigaclear plc said:

 

"Gigaclear apologises for delays encountered with these deliveries, we are confident that under new ownership and with a new management team in place we will work with the Superfast Berkshire team to complete these projects without further operational delays, delivering Ultrafast broadband to all the properties in our contracted areas."

 

27 April 2018 - Best rural broadband and highest median download speed in UK.

 

West Berkshire has the best rural broadband, as well as the highest median download speed in the UK.

 

These are the findings of new research by thinkbroadband.

 

The study, which ranks local authorities by the average broadband speed possible if everyone in the area bought the fastest available service, found that West Berkshire has 98.4% superfast broadband coverage and average mean best case download speeds of 355 mbps, which is exceeded only by urban areas of Bournemouth and parts of central London.

 

West Berkshire is one of only three non-London authorities in the top ten, and is the only rural authority recognised as having exceptional upload and download speeds.

 

Speaking about the findings, Anthony Chadley, West Berkshire's Executive Member for Economic Development, said:

 

"We are thrilled to see the results of this study as they are testament to the significant effort West Berkshire Council has put in to boosting broadband coverage across the area and are further proof that we have the right infrastructure to support companies of any size.

 

"The fact that our broadband speeds are better than most of London, as well as any other major city in the UK, is something to be proud of and shows that West Berkshire offers not only excellent lifestyles opportunities for residents, but also the best possible conditions for business and industry

 

"The work doesn't stop here, though. Making West Berkshire a fantastic place to do business is one of our main priorities as a council; which is why we intend to increase our superfast coverage even further, and will have achieved full rollout by 2020.

 

28 Mar 2018 - Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme is now live.

 

£67 million boost for a Full Fibre future

•National Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme announced

•Scheme will provide "gold standard" connectivity ahead of 5G rollout

 

 

Hundreds of businesses and homes across Thames Valley Berkshire are set to benefit from faster internet connections, following the news that the Government has launched a nationwide Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme

 

The £67m investment is in addition to the £200m allocated to the (LFNN) programme, and will provide future-proof full fibre connections for businesses and the residential communities around them. It follows a successful pilot scheme launched in 4 areas around the country late last year which has already seen nearly 1000 vouchers snapped up to date.

 

The vouchers, worth up to £3,000 for a SME and £500 for a resident, provide a one-off contribution to subsidise the installation cost of gigabit-capable infrastructure. In addition to providing a boost to the 95% of the UK that can already get superfast speeds (24Mbps or faster), the vouchers could also help those not yet able to do so, helping to narrow the diminishing digital divide even further.

 

Full fibre connections are faster, more reliable and cheaper to operate than traditional copper lines, and are capable of supporting not only gigabit, but terabit and even petabit speeds, which will serve the UK far into the future. Currently only around 3% of UK premises have access to a full fibre connection.

 

The scheme forms part of Government's commitment to make full fibre broadband available to at least 10 million homes and businesses by 2022.

 

For more information visit https://gigabitvoucher.culture.gov.uk

 

30th January 2018 - Superfast broadband now available to more than 19 out of 20 UK homes and businesses

 

Following verification of data, DCMS Secretary of State Matt Hancock announced this week that the BDUK nationwide rollout of superfast broadband passed the 95% mark at the end of 2017.

 

Figures published by www.thinkbroadband.com have confirmed that more than 19 out of 20 UK homes and businesses now have the opportunity to upgrade their internet connections to superfast speeds of 24 Mbps or faster - more than double what Ofcom advise is required by a typical family home.

 

Further details can be found in the DCMS press release Icon for pdf DCMS Press Release [51.34KB]

 

4th December 2017 - Better Basic Broadband Scheme extended

 

The UK Government's £5 million Better Broadband Subsidy Scheme, which offers grants worth £350 (maximum) to rural households that are unable to get at least a 2Mbps broadband speed (this helps to get a faster connection installed), has been extended until the end of 2018

 

The Better Broadband Scheme provides a subsidy of up to £350 to enable access to an affordable basic broadband service to those people unable to get broadband speeds of at least 2Mbps.

 

Minister for Digital, Matt Hancock said:

 

Thanks to the UK Government's rollout of superfast broadband, more than 94 per cent of the UK can now access superfast broadband speeds and thousands more homes and businesses are being reached every week.

 

There is still more to be done to get decent broadband to all and the Better Broadband Scheme helps people with the very worst broadband, to provide immediate assistance to those most in need. I'm delighted to say we are extending the scheme to help people in some of the most rural and hard to reach areas of the country.

 

Already more than 10,000 homes and businesses have benefitted from the Scheme, with subsidies that are worth over £3 million in total. Originally due to conclude at the end of 2017, the steadily growing popularity of the scheme means that it will now be extended until the end of 2018.

 

More details of the scheme can be found here: Basic Broadband - Better Broadband Subsidy Scheme

 

24th July 2017 - Phase 3 Contracts Announced

 

Superfast Berkshire is pleased to announce the award of 2 new contracts, marking phase 3 of the programme. When this phase is completed, by the end of 2019, along with phase 2 projects and planned commercial activities we anticipate that Berkshire's superfast broadband coverage will be close to 100% (99.6%). Details can be found in the additional press releases were also issued by the two suppliers, Icon for pdf BT Openreach [111.81KB]  and Icon for pdf Gigaclear [196.72KB] who won the contracts.

With this announcement we have added new interactive maps to this site to allow the broadband status of any Berkshire address to be looked up by entering its postcode.

 

8th February 2017 - Phase 3 OJEU Procurement ITT Issued

 

Superfast Berkshire has received approval from BDUK and issued an OJEU Contract Notice and ITT seeking solutions for the remaining 15,000 Berkshire properties that currently have speeds below 24 Mbps. Final bids from potential suppliers are expected to be received by the beginning of June and contracts awarded by the end of July that should see further expansion between 2017-2019. Further information and future updates will be published on the Superfast Berkshire Project Website,.

 

17th November 2016 - Call Flow Solutions now live

 

Call Flow Solutions have now completed the extension of superfast broadband to a further 1,750 premises across parts of Windsor, Wraysbury, Burchett's Green and Colnbrook by upgrading 11 cabinets to a Fibre-to-the-Cabinet (FTTC) solution. A local Icon for pdf press release [131.16KB]   has been issued and emails sent to individuals who have previously registered on the Superfast Berkshire website and are potentially covered. More information can also be found on the Call Flow website at www.callflow.co.uk.

 

28th September 2016 - Phase 3 State Aid Public Consultation

 

Superfast Berkshire has issued a State Aid Public Consultation outlining the potential Intervention Areas for superfast and basic broadband under Phase 3. This process enables the public and market operators to comment on the Intervention Area proposals and in particular, to provide an opportunity for broadband infrastructure providers to review the representation of their commercial plans and ensure these are correct.

 

7th June 2016 - Phase 3 Open Market Review published

 

Superfast Berkshire Phase 3 is now under way. An Open Market Review was sent to all broadband infrastructure providers to establish the latest view of existing and planned commercial broadband coverage across Berkshire. This is the first step in the State Aid process for Phase 3 and the details will be incorporated into the planned updates of our broadband coverage maps.