Whilst fibre broadband is the most common solution to bring better speeds there are a number of other technologies that could provide your home or business with broadband.
In areas where fibre broadband is too difficult to deliver or not appropriate to roll-out because it won’t give the best speeds, this is where alternative technologies step in to provide better broadband for homes and businesses.
These areas are predominantly rural and isolated properties, but there are some gaps in towns and cities as well which the programme may not be able to reach.
Better Broadband Subsidy Scheme
The government has made a commitment to reaching all homes with a minimum of 2Mbps and has set up a Better Broadband Subsidy Scheme to help pay for the installation costs of satellite or wireless broadband for premises unable to get 2Mbps.
To be eligible for a better broadband subsidy scheme voucher of up to £400 you have to meet certain criteria and fill out an application form. Details of this can be found on our Better Broadband Subsidy Scheme page.
Satellite broadband is the most widely available alternative solution for broadband.
Satellite broadband has come a long way since the early days and is now capable of speeds up 20Mbps perfect for browsing the internet, reading your email, catch-up tv and video calls (Skype). However there are issues with satellite broadband due to the distance between the earth and the satellites it does cause issues with latency which affects fast paced online gaming.
Satellite broadband costs can vary and the installation of the equipment can be expensive, but some retailers will give you the installation for free if you sign up to a longer term contract or if you’re eligible you can apply for the Better Broadband Subsidy Scheme detailed above.
Wireless broadband offers high speeds without the need to lay infrastructure to your home. Fibred up to a local mast, the signal is then sent to a receiver at your home.
Wireless broadband is capable of high speeds with 40Mbps+ available from many providers. It doesn’t suffer from latency issues (as with Satellite) and is fine for gaming and video calling.
Although not as widely available as some other alternative technologies, it is more common in rural areas where demand is high.
Some providers local to Cambridgeshire are:
If you live in the village of Stuntney there is an independent wireless provider – www.stuntneybroadband.co.uk
Mobile coverage is always improving and is one of the most accessible alternative solutions to getting a better broadband when fibre isn’t available.
3g mobile covers 97% of the UK population and the average speed is 6Mbps. The newer 4G network currently covers 81% of the UK population and the average speed is 15Mbps (but capable of much faster speeds!).
If you decide to go mobile remember to check the coverage of the specific supplier you are ordering from. Maps can be found on the supplier’s websites and overall mobile coverage can be found on the Ofcom website here.
To check what mobile broadband packages are available you can use a comparison website such as Broadband Genie.
Mobile broadband also has the added benefit of not being tied down to your property so you can take it out and about.
Helping your community to get better broadband
Residents interested in helping their communities to get better broadband speeds sooner may wish to look into community funding a solution via BT’s Community Fibre Partnership (CFP) programme.
Any community interested in helping themselves to get better broadband speeds can register with CFP to see what the possible solutions and costs are. Although the offer does have an element of additional funding available for schools, it is not dependent on there being a school.
Registering for a Community Fibre Partnership does not represent any commitment from the community at this stage, however it enables you and us to find out more about potential solutions and costs to deliver better broadband to your area.
If the Community Fibre Partnership team can give cost estimates for a solution, there may be opportunities for match funding from Connecting Cambridgeshire or from the Government’s basic broadband voucher scheme (only for premises currently receiving speeds of 2 Mbps and under). If delivery and funding of a solution is then agreed, Connecting Cambridgeshire will work together with residents to manage the delivery to reduce the time demands on their community.
If you community is interested in exploring this option and has registered with the Community Fibre Programme, please contact the Connecting Cambridgeshire team here.
Guidance for communities considering aggregating Better Broadband Subsidy Scheme codes can be found here.