Susan van de Ven

Liberal Democrat County Councillor for Bassingbourn, Melbourn, Meldreth and Whaddon Learn more

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Poor broadband speeds on the edge of the village – gigabit top-up scheme

by Susan van de Ven on 14 September, 2020

Poor broadband speeds on the edge of the village? Cambridgeshire County Council ‘Connecting Cambridgeshire’ has launched a top-up scheme for rural gigabit vouchers – topping up the voucher value for those on the slowest broadband speeds.

They write:

“Residents and businesses in rural areas of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough are being urged to apply for government funding to benefit from the fastest and most reliable fibre connectivity – before the money runs out.

Connecting Cambridgeshire has secured £500,000 extra “top-up” funding from the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority to help premises with the slowest broadband cover the cost of installing new gigabit-capable connections that will more than double their speeds.

The Cambridgeshire and Peterborough voucher top-up funding is part of Connecting Cambridgeshire’s Keeping Everyone Connected work, using digital connectivity to help businesses and communities to recover from Covid-19, and will be used to rollout fibre broadband to the hardest-to-reach areas.

Gigabit-capable means 1,000 megabits per second (1,000Mbps). Future-ready full fibre connections are faster, more reliable and cheaper to operate than traditional copper lines and provide a big leap forward in terms of speeds and reliability. Residents can choose to upgrade to 1,000Mbps or sign up to lower speed packages that match their requirements.

Groups of rural premises with broadband speeds of less than 100Mbps, can apply to the national Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme and pool vouchers worth up to £1,500 for homes and £3,500 for small to medium enterprises (SMEs) towards the cost of installing a new full fibre connection.

In addition, eligible rural properties getting less than 30Mbps will automatically receive a ‘top up’ to the voucher – offering an extra £1,500 per household or business towards the installation cost of gigabit-capable broadband. This means premises in group projects with the slowest speeds will get vouchers worth up to £3,000 per residential premise and up to £5,000 per business.

Group projects are when two or more residents or businesses get together to combine their vouchers towards the cost of connections. They will then be able to choose an internet package from a provider to suit their needs and budget.

The COVID-19 pandemic has shown how important it is for everyone to have access to reliable, fast broadband. Being digitally connected is vital for staying in touch with friends and loved ones and is key to being able to work from home, while also helping to stabilise local businesses.”

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