Home
 » ISP News » 
Sponsored

Northumberland’s £1m Voucher Scheme to Boost Superfast Broadband

Wednesday, March 13th, 2019 (8:13 am) - Score 623
openreach 2017 rural telegraph pole engineer

The Northumberland County Council in England has approved a new voucher scheme, which is designed to help alternative network (AltNet) ISPs to Openreach (BT) to access public funding in order to roll-out “superfast broadband” (24Mbps+) to premises that have not been covered by the existing project (i.e. rural areas).

Sadly the existing iNorthumberland project, which is working alongside Openreach (BT) and the Government’s Broadband Delivery UK programme, is running behind schedule on their target to help make “superfast broadband” capable FTTC and a few ultrafast FTTP networks available to “over” 95% of the county by the end of 2018 (Thinkbroadband‘s database estimates they’re at 93.79% today).

The local authority was also impacted after Virgin Media’s decision last year to halt plans for extending their ultrafast cable broadband and TV network into the county (here). In fairness, this would have been focused more on urban areas and is thus unlikely to have made much of an impact upon overall coverage (i.e. deploying into areas where superfast speeds already exist).

Meanwhile the council has made a further £2.2m available (mainly from savings within the first roll-out contract) to help bring superfast broadband to some of the most difficult to reach communities in the county. Some £2m of this has been allocated to help Openreach extend their network and “there are currently over 50 communities being taken through the process to receive full fibre services which otherwise would have been excluded.” (it’s hoped that this could push superfast coverage to 95-96% of premises).

The remaining £200,000 has thus been earmarked for situations where Openreach cannot provide a quote under the fund criteria, which will instead make it available to alternative network providers as part of a voucher scheme. If necessary, this funding could also be boosted to £1m (depending upon demand).

Council Statement

It is recommended that this £200,000 allocation is allocated via a voucher scheme rather than via a single procurement, or series of small scale procurements. Further funds are available through the iNorthumberland programme from a range of sources including clawback from the first contract and further ‘gainshare’ funding from high levels of take up.

The terms of the contract mean some of this funding is ring fenced for use with Openreach, but some can be used with other suppliers. It is therefore recommended that if this scheme experiences high demand and the initial £200,000 is utilised that further funds be made available from one of these existing budgets to extend the voucher scheme up to a total maximum value of £1m.

The new scheme has been designed to fit between the Government’s existing Better Broadband Subsidy Scheme (up to £350 a pop) and their Gigabit Connection Vouchers (up to £2,500 a pop). As such it will aim to award vouchers worth up to £1,000 per property to individual residents or businesses in order to help them get a superfast (30Mbps+ capable – EU definition) connection installed.

The vouchers will be technology agnostic (i.e. can be delivered via any type of connection), although they’ve made clear that wherever possible the aim should be to foster “full fibre” (FTTP) connectivity. This scheme would also be aimed at residents and businesses unable to access broadband speeds of 15Mbps or above. Areas that are already part of a future fibre-based roll-out plan will not be eligible.

On top of that the council has said they won’t just approve any old cowboy supplier or reseller for the scheme. As such they’ve set a number of additional eligibility criteria for ISPs. For example, suppliers will need to be registered for current BDUK subsidies, have £5m of public liability insurance, support Ofcom’s ADR dispute resolution scheme and be a UK limited company + VAT registered etc. Further Details Here.

One obvious problem with all this is that £1m will not be even remotely enough to reach every property in the final 4-5% of premises. The forthcoming 10Mbps+ broadband USO might be of some help here, although the council has said that they’re continuing to lobby the Government for more funding.

Add to Diigo
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.
Leave a Comment
0 Responses

Comments are closed.

Comments RSS Feed

Javascript must be enabled to post (most browsers do this automatically)

Privacy Notice: Please note that news comments are anonymous, which means that we do NOT require you to enter any real personal details to post a message. By clicking to submit a post you agree to storing your comment content, display name, IP, email and / or website details in our database, for as long as the post remains live.

Only the submitted name and comment will be displayed in public, while the rest will be kept private (we will never share this outside of ISPreview, regardless of whether the data is real or fake). This comment system uses submitted IP, email and website address data to spot abuse and spammers. All data is transferred via an encrypted (https secure) session.

NOTE 1: Sometimes your comment might not appear immediately due to site cache (this is cleared every few hours) or it may be caught by automated moderation / anti-spam.

NOTE 2: Comments that break our rules, spam, troll or post via known fake IP/proxy servers may be blocked or removed.
Cheapest Superfast ISPs
  • Hyperoptic £21.00 (*25.00)
    Avg. Speed 50Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: £50 Shopping Voucher
  • TalkTalk £21.95 (*36.00)
    Avg. Speed 38Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: None
  • xln telecom £22.74 (*47.94)
    Avg. Speed 66Mbps, Unlimited (FUP)
    Gift: None
  • Post Office £22.90 (*37.00)
    Avg. Speed 38Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: None
  • Direct Save Telecom £22.95 (*29.95)
    Avg. Speed 35Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: None
Prices inc. Line Rental | View All
The Top 20 Category Tags
  1. BT (2533)
  2. FTTP (2254)
  3. FTTC (1676)
  4. Building Digital UK (1616)
  5. Politics (1444)
  6. Openreach (1432)
  7. Business (1258)
  8. Statistics (1110)
  9. FTTH (1105)
  10. Mobile Broadband (1056)
  11. Fibre Optic (978)
  12. Ofcom Regulation (922)
  13. 4G (918)
  14. Wireless Internet (917)
  15. Virgin Media (870)
  16. EE (602)
  17. Sky Broadband (600)
  18. TalkTalk (586)
  19. Vodafone (532)
  20. 3G (417)
Promotion
Helpful ISP Guides and Tips
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
Sponsored

Copyright © 1999 to Present - ISPreview.co.uk - All Rights Reserved - Terms , Privacy and Cookie Policy , Links , Website Rules , Contact