Rural areas could be eligible for faster broadband

Could you be eligible for faster broadband?

Slow broadband can prove a struggle when you live in a rural area and with more and more of us working from home there may be an even bigger need for something faster. But we have good news as you, your neighbours and local small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) might be able to join together and do something about it.

The Government is keen for residents and businesses to be digitally connected and have access to faster broadband – including in rural areas. And although you might think your current broadband speed is fine, you may be eligible to funding for a faster, more reliable speed which will meet your internet needs now and into the future. Want to know more?

Check your broadband speed and postcode eligibility

You will need to do a few initial checks so you'll know whether to go any further with the scheme. Firstly, check your postcode's eligibility by visiting the Government's Gigabit Voucher website. Secondly, check your broadband speed by heading to Ofcom's Broadband Coverage Checker website and entering your postcode, then selecting your address.

Rural Gigabit Voucher Scheme

If your home or SME is in an eligible postcode and can only access broadband speeds of less than 100Mbps, then by grouping together with other homes and/or SMEs in your area, you could be entitled to funding worth £1,500 per residential premises and £3,500 per SME.

This amount goes towards the cost of gigabit infrastructure for the group. There may be extra costs if the connection costs are greater than the funding; but the more properties involved, the lower the cost would be. Residents and businesses benefitting from the funding are required to take up a service delivered on gigabit-capable infrastructure with a minimum of 30Mbps download speed or at least double their current speed. That may mean a small increase in your current broadband charge to reflect the improved service.

So, for example, if someone currently has a service of:

  • 10Mbps, they will have to take out a service of at least 30Mbps
  • 15Mbps, they will have to take out a service of at least 30Mbps
  • 30Mbps, they will have to take out a service of at least 60Mbps
  • 60Mbps, they will have to take out a service of at least 120Mbps
  • 80Mbps, they will have to take out a service of at least 160Mbps.

Be part of a digitally connected Britain

Faster broadband will not only future proof your home but also your community and prepare you all for whatever digital challenges come next.

If you're interested in the scheme, start talking to your neighbours, other homes or businesses in the area who may also be keen, and visit the rural gigabit voucher scheme website to get started.