Residents and businesses in rural North Wales may now be entitled to significantly increased funding to upgrade their broadband.
Customers with broadband speeds of less than 30 Mbps currently available to them may now be eligible for more funding, as the Welsh Government has agreed to “top up” HM Government’s Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme.
The funding that is available through the Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme provides residents and businesses with a small grant (voucher) that can be put towards the cost of installing gigabit capable broadband to their premises, using a supplier that is registered on the scheme.
Because of the challenging Welsh topography, it can be more expensive for industry to roll out the infrastructure to some areas of the country. Therefore, the Welsh Government will now “top up” the UK Government’s funding with an additional £1,500 per resident and £3,500 per small to medium-sized business (SME) in order to help connect harder-to-reach rural properties in Wales.
This means that the maximum funding available through each voucher has doubled and is now £7,000 for SMEs and £3,000 for residential premises.
HM Government’s rural voucher: Homes – Up to £1,500 SMEs – Up to £3,500
Welsh Government top-up: Homes – Up to £1,500 SMEs – Up to £3,500
Total funding available for installation: Homes – Up to £3,000 SMEs – Up to £7,000
Clwyd West MP, David Jones, said:
“Broadband has long since ceased to be a luxury; it is now as much a necessary utility as electricity and water.
“The COVID-19 lockdown has seen the number of people working from home increase dramatically. Without proper broadband, it is difficult, if not possible, for home working to continue.
“ The gigabit voucher scheme now offers a substantial sum to enable small businesses and residents across North Wales to upgrade to the latest, fastest, industry-standard connections. I hope that as many people as possible take advantage of it.”
Vouchers are available to homes and businesses only when combined together in a group scheme to encourage network build to their area and to cover most, if not all of the infrastructure costs.
A single application per premise is all that is required, as eligible properties will automatically receive the “top up” funding when benefiting from a voucher.
Applicants can check whether they may be eligible for a voucher by using the postcode checker at: https://gigabitvoucher.culture.gov.uk/