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Shropshire Council in GBP1m Boost to Gigabit Broadband Vouchers

Thursday, December 23rd, 2021 (3:49 pm) - Score 936
Connecting Shropshire UK Logo

The Shropshire County Council (SCC) in England has this week allocated another £1 million (total so far of £2m) to help boost the value of the Government’s local rural gigabit broadband vouchers, which now offers grants worth up to £4,000 (homes) or £7,000 (small businesses) to cover the costs of installing such a network.

The top-up scheme was officially launched last year and, since then, some 36 projects across the council area have been approved for delivery by four different broadband infrastructure suppliers (ISPs). All schemes are led by community representatives who have approached suppliers to use vouchers and build new networks in their villages etc.

However, Shropshire’s voucher scheme will “pause temporarily” in January 2022, while the Building Digital UK team undertakes a review of the Project Gigabit procurement area for the Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin areas. Once the review has concluded, in the Spring of 2022, vouchers will become available again in the rural areas where the Government’s larger programme will not reach.

It’s worth noting that the temporary closure of the scheme did disrupt a number of other voucher-based broadband rollout projects when, earlier this year, it occurred in other parts of the country. But one alternative network provider, B4RN, was able to push for a solution to that issue (here).

Rob Gittins, Shropshire Council, said:

“I’m pleased that Shropshire Council is backing its communities by adding extra funding to make it more attractive to broadband suppliers to build networks in our most rural areas.

If we don’t do this then many community-led broadband schemes would be financially unviable, meaning that communities most in need would continue to be stuck in the digital dark ages.

Improving broadband connectivity has always been a priority for Shropshire Council, but it’s become even more important during the pandemic, when greater demands are being placed on broadband networks by users.”

More information can be found on the Connecting Shropshire website.

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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
10 Responses
  1. Brian says:

    Must be nice to have a proactive council that understand broadband.

  2. Optimist says:

    This does not seem good value for money – the sums quoted would fund subscriptions to a LEO satellite service such as Starlink for decades.

    1. chris conder says:

      no not really, it would only fund about 5 years of starlink at a slower speed at current prices, and no infrastructure to show for the funding. also the top up from the council is taken off the funding total, so whoever claims it has half the area to complete with no funding.

    2. Optimist says:

      chris conder: A £4000 voucher for a domestic property is equivalent to a subscription to Starlink for about 40 years.

    3. Optimist says:

      Oops sorry brain fade, Starlink is about £100 a month. Too much seasonal wine!

  3. chris conder says:

    Brilliant, but when councils support altnets you can guarantee openreach will get it stopped asap and go into procurement to cherrypick…

    1. Fastman says:

      Really

      so you can legally prove that can you – or is this more deliberate misinformation / disinformation from you

      Admin are you going to actually allow this

  4. chris conder says:

    brilliant, but when a council supports altnets like this then you can guarantee openreach will get it stopped, they’ll go into procurement and cherry pick the easy bits leaving the really rural stuck on expensive satellites.

    1. Fastman says:

      Councils have to follow proper procedures and due suitable due diligence you cant jut give an an infrastructure provider public money

      if altnets want to play and that fine (but all have to play by the rules) other than B4RN there are vey few plucky little altnets left (most have been funded by the big financiers) and some have found winning public money (BDUK) procurements are hard , complicated with relentless milestones and deliverables

  5. Gary H says:

    Must be managing their finances better tan my local council if they can afford to do this.

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