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£67m UK Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme Runs Low on Funds

Thursday, September 26th, 2019 (7:47 am) - Score 1,800
gigabit broadband voucher scheme uk logo

The Government’s £67m Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme (GBVS), which offers up to £2,500 to help businesses and homes gain access to a 1Gbps capable ISP connection, appears to have been so successful that there’s now just £20.4m remaining for eligible users (i.e. it’ll run out of money well before 31st March 2021).

Just to recap. 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 more business orientated and thus 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 1 SME).

The GBVS scheme itself was launched in March 2018 as part of the Local Full Fibre Networks (LFFN) programme (here) and by February 2019 it had already helped to create a total of 3,660 connections (value of £8,76m). The popularity of these vouchers has already resulted in the Government reducing the maximum value of each from £3,000 to £2,500 and encouraging “neighbouring businesses to ‘pool’ their vouchers” (here).

However the latest data, which has been shared by Hampshire-based UK business ISP Giganet, reveals that as of 10th September 2019 some 11,500 connections have been installed (representing £26.6m of funding or a £2,313 average voucher value) and 10,000 connections are yet to be installed (representing £20m of funding reserved).

NOTE: So far as we can tell these figures don’t include vouchers from the recently launched £200m Rural Gigabit Connectivity (RGC) scheme (here).

The data shows that the scheme has become more popular over the past year and states that a balance of just £20.4m now remains, which if we use the average value of £2,313 would mean that just 8,820 vouchers are left available for new applications. At this rate the scheme will still run out of money long before it’s due to end on 31st March 2021. Just for some context on the pace of change, the remaining money in July 2019 was £23.1m.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) will no doubt be very pleased with the excellent progress, although it remains to be seen whether the scheme will be given another funding boost or left to close when the funds run dry.

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

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