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3,660 Gigabit Broadband Connections Created by UK Gov Vouchers

Saturday, February 23rd, 2019 (12:01 am) - Score 4,591
gigabit broadband voucher scheme uk logo

It’s nearly a year since the Government launched their £67m Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme (GBVS), which offers up to £2,500 to help businesses and homes gain access to a 1Gbps capable connection. The latest data reveals that this has helped to create a total of 3,660 connections (value of £8,756,443).

The GBVS scheme was originally launched in March 2018 as part of the Local Full Fibre Networks (LFFN) programme (here). Broadly this complemented the Government’s ambition for making 1Gbps+ (Gigabits per second) capable “full fibre” broadband ISP services available to at least 10 million UK premises by 2022, rising to 15 million in 2025 and there’s an aspiration to achieve “nationwide” coverage by the end of 2033.

NOTE: The vouchers can only cover one-off installation and set-up costs, while the connection itself must be 1Gbps capable (but you can take a 100Mbps+ minimum service speed package).

Under this approach vouchers worth up to £2,500 a pop are offered to businesses in order to help them get a new connection installed (leased lines, FTTP etc.), while residents are offered up to £500. GBVS is clearly more business orientated and the only way for residents to benefit is as part of a local community group, which must include small businesses (i.e. up to 10 homes can participate for every one SME).

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) has now informed ISPreview.co.uk that a total of 3,660 connections with a value of £8,756,443 have so far been created by the scheme, which includes 3,162 for businesses (£8,507,443) and 498 for residential (£249,000). A new video has also been released to help explain and promote the scheme.

The scheme was initially expected to run until March 2021, but at the end of last year the Government revealed that “high demand” had meant the funding was at risk of drying up a year, or possibly even sooner, than originally expected (i.e. early 2020). In response they reduced the maximum value of each voucher from £3,000 to £2,500 and encouraged “neighbouring businesses to ‘pool’ their vouchers” (here).

To date, demand for the scheme has been strongest in the South West, followed by the South East, Yorkshire and the North West of England. London follows close behind, while Wales and Scotland sit nearer the bottom of the table (largely due to them being more rural and less metropolitan). You can see a pin map of where all the vouchers have been issued so far below.

Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme (GBVS)
https://gigabitvoucher.culture.gov.uk

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Mark Jackson
By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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19 Responses
  1. Avatar Optimist

    The main beneficiaries of this scheme are the top civil servants who grow their empires by employing more civil servants to administer it, all of which are a burden on taxpayers. Why not take less taxes from individuals and businesses so that the cost of broadband comes down thus growing the market?

    • Avatar George L

      How many civil servants do you imagine it takes to administer this scheme? If you add up their salaries, how far does that go in installing FTTP across the country? If sounds like you have an agenda, but no actual clue.

    • Avatar Optimist

      What is the point of taxing broadband infrastructure on the one hand (business rates, VAT) then devising a scheme to give back some of the money taken by the government in the first place?

  2. Avatar Guy Cashmore

    We placed our FTTPoD order with Fluidone in June last year, agreeing to pay about £10k in ECC’s, we are still waiting for BTOR to even begin installation work. I wonder if the voucher scheme will have ended by the time BTOR finish and we claim it..

    • Avatar FactOrFiction

      If they don’t complete you installation by this June (12 Months) you lose your voucher.

    • Avatar Meadmodj

      @Guy

      Then surely your issue is with Fluidone not BTOR. They have chosen to quote you based on OR’s Fibre presence. There is no monopoly in the FTTP market. There are other providers and LFFN subsidies are to get Altnet backbone where it isn’t already and the GBVS to get end businesses connected.

      Yet on the ground we are seeing LFFN funding going to local authority networks in Towns and Cities that already have fibre competition and these GBVS vouchers going towards diverting OR resource on what is an inefficient and costly way of providing FTTP possibly in areas that will get coverage soon anyway.

      My view is these initiatives are unfocussed, do not take into account existing capability, wider rollout plans (by all Altnets) and hence are an ineffective way of using public money. In addition OR can only resource a finite capacity for FTTPoD (possibly more than now but …) and it only really works if they can schedule and coordinate with other works.

      My personal view is LFFN, GBVS and initiatives like it should only be available to rural areas with the emphasis on business. That way the money would go further and assist those where the wait for Ultra/Giga speeds would otherwise be longer (say 5 years).

      My reasoning is that the cost of getting Fibre is falling and in more dense areas such as the South East it is become clear that FTTP can be provided outside of rollouts commercially. There is a village not far from me in Mid Sussex where there is a new build of 33 houses. OR have provided their FTTC but along side that an Alnet (Sales person referred to a “new type of fibre” and Hyperoptic by name) has provided FTTP in parallel. Now if an Alnet can do that in the middle of Mid Sussex with no guarantee of take-up indicates to me that the threshold is dropping. Elsewhere we know TrueSpeed will cable up if demand is greater than 30%.

      So if we are to use public money it should be spent more wisely.

    • Avatar Fastman

      meadmodj

      that site will have FTTC only because it is within distance to its nearest copper cabinet (Whether that cabinet is enabled or not is not part of the decisioning process)

      the ask from openreach would have been telephony

      I assume that cabinet covers other premises which is why it was either enabled under a commercial programme or under a BDUK programme

      they only have FTTC through luck and 100% nothing to do with the developer

    • Avatar Meadmodj

      @Fastman

      Not part of BDUK. Yes OR may have been used simply due to timescale/telephony. My point is an Alnet has been able to justify the provision of FTTP in parallel to the OR FTTC in a village without any subsidy.

    • Avatar Bob Stokes

      @Meadmodj
      “There is no monopoly in the FTTP market.”

      Not for FTTP, but for FTTPoD there is (OP specifically mentioned FTTPoD). AFAIK the likes of Virgin, Hyperoptic, Cityfibre and B4RN do NOT offer the ‘On Demand’variant of FTTP. Of course you might be able to get a leased line through them but its not quite the same as a FTTP(oD) line.

    • Avatar Guy Cashmore

      The nearest Altnet backbone is around 6 miles away, BTOR have a node around 1000 meters away, so effectively BTOR have a monopoly in our area. Yes our contract and hence our complaint is with Fluidone, but they are utterly dependent on BTOR who are utterly useless at getting things done, even when they are being paid. Any ‘normal’ business would be delighted that someone was paying them £10k to extend their network (our installation will also serve around 10 homes along the route), but BTOR behaves like the monopoly it effectively is, not like a normal business!

    • Avatar Bob Stokes

      @Guy
      Whilst I know your contract is wih Fluidone and not Openreach, the delays will be down to Openreach and not Fluidone. All Fluidone can do, is keep chasing OR. However, I’m pretty sure the OR delays will be down to some major issue(s) eg they’re unable to get permission easily from the relevant authorities, OR definitely won’t be delaying your order for the fun of it. I had my FTTPoD service installed through Fluidone within 4 months.

    • Avatar David Meadmore

      Hopefully things will get better as OR increase FTTPoD capacity to 100 a week. I appreciate you have a business need and I can only assume the quote was dependant on other works that have not been completed. Many FTTPoD installs will be recovered long term unless they conform to the eventual network requirement.

      My issue here is a more general one of priorities for public money and its focus.

    • Avatar FactOrFiction

      @Guy

      Are you not getting regular update from Fluidone?

    • Avatar Fastman

      meadmod so depending who the altnet it is it could be GTC they will have done something to provide all the uniities on that Site hence making it a much better commercial proposition for them

      but a bit odd if copper was provided as well which is certainly strage and indicates the FTTP provider on site might not cover there ongoing costs

    • Avatar Fastman

      guy
      you mention the node is 1 km away . whats between that and the node as this might be all direct in ground it might be on long span poles that all need augmenting , it might be completely no duct — this distance is almost immaterial . in the world of FTTp is about getting fibre to the NTE in your house and the 1km run might be the worst 1km of network build – that slways assuming the node is really only 1km away rather than potentially a lot more

    • Avatar Guy Cashmore

      The route has existing poles for about 900m, about 8 of which need replacing, the remaining 100m needs new duct installing beside a rural road – hence the £10k cost. Fluidone are giving us regular updates from BTOR, they read like a comedy sketch, each time OR or subcontractors turn up, they find a reason not to start work, a re-survey is ordered, the work is re-booked, they turn up and find another reason not to start work, around and around it goes.

      Any ‘normal’ business could not possibly survive operating such an utterly dysfunctional way, but its an effective monopoly and they know it, we essentially have no other choice.

  3. Avatar Simon Green

    As an ISP that’s part of the scheme, I’ve found it remarkably easy to take part in. It’s also enabled connections that otherwise wouldn’t have gone ahead.

  4. Avatar NE555

    I’m not sure I trust the pinmap data.

    For example: KT10 (Esher) has 49 vouchers issued, 0 connected. But neighbouring KT9 (Chessington) has 3 vouchers issued, 49 connected.

    It’s certainly possible that the unlucky people of KT10 have not got any working connections yet – the same is true of most other areas. But how did KT9 get more connections than vouchers? A voucher used for a CFP perhaps – or maybe “connected” really means “passed”?

    The number 49 in both seems like an unlikely coincidence.

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