Homes and businesses to benefit from broadband voucher scheme

A GOVERNMENT scheme set up to provide a faster broadband service has helped more than 230 Dorset homes and businesses since it launched in 2019 and now Dorset Council is investing £1million so that it can reach up to 1,000 more.

The £200million Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme (GBVS) has been helping to provide gigabit-capable connections for businesses and homes in the most remote locations.

Through the scheme, rural business and residential premises with broadband speeds of less than 100Mbps can apply for vouchers worth £1,500 per home and up to £3,500 for each small to medium-sized business to support the cost of installing new fast and reliable connections.

Now, Dorset Council is pleased to announce that it is investing £1million to ‘top up’ the GBVS vouchers.

For homes, the maximum funding per voucher will be £2,500, thanks to an extra £1,000 per voucher from Dorset Council.

Small and medium-sized businesses in Dorset can receive an additional £2,500 per voucher from Dorset Council bringing their maximum funding per voucher to £6,000.

In all cases, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport funding will be allocated before ‘top up funding’ from Dorset Council is applied.

The funding for the vouchers in The Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme with a Dorset Top Up will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis until the end of March 2021, when the scheme will close.

Cllr Peter Wharf, deputy leader of Dorset Council, said: “Hundreds of businesses and homes have already got a gigabit-capable connection through this and previous schemes but for some, the voucher amount was not enough to pay for the installation.

“This top-up funding means many more schemes can be funded, providing this future-proofed connectivity to around 1,000 more homes in the most rural locations which are otherwise unlikely to get it for many years.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has shown how important it is to have access to reliable, fast broadband. Being digitally connected is key to staying in touch with loved ones, working from home and enabling our local businesses and economy to thrive.

“I am delighted that Dorset Council can provide this much needed financial boost to help bring high-speed broadband to areas that are very remote and most in need.

“If you are interested in a voucher then discuss this with your residential and business neighbours. You have to apply as a group and the schemes work best when you have communities pulling together.

“The good news is that all you need to do is register your interest now with your chosen supplier and they will check all the details and if you are eligible, they will start the process to get you connected.”

The scheme is managed by Building Digital UK (BDUK), part of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS).

Matt Warman MP, Minister for Digital Infrastructure, said: “Better broadband enhances lives so it’s great to see Dorset Council investing alongside the national government to make good connectivity a reality.

“It means even more help is now at hand for rural parts of the county currently suffering with slow speeds and I encourage people and businesses in these areas to check if they’re eligible for a voucher to boost their broadband with these next-generation speeds.”

Anyone interested in learning more about The Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme with a Dorset Top Up can visit the Dorset Council website or the DCMS website to find out how to apply for this government grant scheme.

How do the vouchers work?

  • Find a registered supplier and sign up for a gigabit capable connection
  • Your supplier requests a voucher from government – they check you are happy to go ahead by email
  • Your supplier gets to work to deliver your new connection
  • Connected! Your supplier lets government know the work is done
  • Government checks with you by email that the service is live and working
  • Government will sometimes make further checks before they pay your supplier
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