UK Chancellor Philip Hammond has announced the roll out of the Nationwide Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme (GBVS), which is to provide vouchers worth up to £3000 for a small or medium sized business or £500 to residents to help with the costs of connecting to full fibre broadband.
The scheme is part of a wider government plan to get more homes and businesses connected to full fibre broadband, and builds on the £200 million Local Full Fibre Networks programme, which gives funding to local areas to boost full fibre delivery. It forms part of the government’s commitment to make full fibre broadband available to at least 10 million homes and businesses by 2022.
Hammond said: 'We’re backing Britain’s small businesses by investing £67 million to bring full-fibre broadband to more businesses up and down the country. This means faster, more reliable broadband access as we build the digital infrastructure we need to make our economy fit for the future.
DCMS Secretary of State, Matt Hancock added: 'Small businesses are the backbone of the British economy and now they can turbo-charge their connectivity with gigabit speeds. By building a full fibre future for Britain we are laying the foundations for a digital infrastructure capable of delivering today what the next generation will need tomorrow.'
Currently around 3% of UK premises have access to a full fibre connection.
Registration for new suppliers opens at the end of March and the scheme will be open until March 2021 or until all available funding has been allocated.
TrueSpeed was the first provider in the uk to run both a business and residential trial of the scheme. CEO Evan Wienburg commented: 'What we achieved during the pilot sets a blueprint for the rest of the country as the Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme is rolled out nationwide. The £67 million investment is a very welcome move, and a catalyst that will enable hundreds of millions of pounds of private money to be invested across the country. It provides a cost-effective way for the government to support privately funded full fibre infrastructure providers in their efforts to connect the digitally left behind.'
Gigaclear has become a registered partner for the scheme, as Joe Frost, business development director stated: 'We hear first-hand how frustrating sub-par internet connections can be, so welcome the decision to roll out the broadband voucher scheme nationwide. We have already become a registered partner and are fully supportive of initiatives that encourage adoption. This is a further step towards a nationwide full fibre roll out that is crucial for the future our digital economy.'