Whilst fibre broadband is the most common solution to bring high speed internet access, there are a number of alternative technologies that could improve connectivity for your home or business where fibre broadband is too difficult to deliver. These areas are predominantly rural and isolated properties, but there are also some gaps in towns and cities, which the programme may not be able to reach.
Mobile broadband coverage is always improving and is one of the most accessible alternative solutions to getting a better broadband when fibre isn’t available. Mobile broadband also has the added benefit of not being tied down to your property so you can take it out and about
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 use mobile broadband, check the coverage of your supplier. Maps can be found on 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.
Satellite broadband is the most widely available alternative solution for broadband and is now capable of speeds up 20Mbps – suitable for browsing the internet, reading your email, catch-up tv and video calls. However there are issues with latency due to the distance between the earth and the satellites, 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.
Wireless Broadband (aka Fixed Wireless Access)
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:
- Air Broadband
- County Broadband
There are also schemes for improving your current broadband connection that you may qualify for:
- Better Broadband Subsidy Scheme
If you currently experience broadband speeds of less than 2 Megabits per second (Mbps), the Better Broadband Voucher Scheme may be able to help you access a basic broadband service that will offer download speeds of at least 10 Mbps.The Better Broadband Voucher Scheme, developed by the UK government, provides a voucher worth up to £350 for basic broadband installation to homes and businesses that will not benefit from superfast broadband within the next twelve months.
If you’re struggling with really low broadband speeds, the Government’s Better Broadband Scheme could offer you a subsidy towards an interim basic broadband service. This is now supplier-led and only registered suppliers will be able to request vouchers on behalf of their customers.
There are also a number of schemes available that you may wish to consider when looking to improve your current broadband connection:
Better Broadband Voucher Scheme - If you get less than 5mbps
The government has made a commitment to reaching all homes with a minimum of 2Mbps and has set up a Better Broadband Voucher 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 voucher scheme voucher of up to £350 you have to meet certain criteria and fill out an application form. Details of this can be found on our Better Broadband Voucher Scheme page.
Rural Gigabit Voucher Scheme - Groups in Rural Areas with less than 30mbps
As part of the Government’s Rural Gigabit Connectivity programme business and residents in some of the hardest-to-reach places in the UK are eligible for additional funding towards the cost of installing gigabit-capable broadband to their premises when part of a group project.
Rural premises with broadband speeds of less than 30Mbps can use vouchers worth up to £3,500 for each small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs), and up to £1,500 per residential premise to support the cost of installing new gigabit-capable connections. To find out more about the Rural Gigabit Voucher Scheme, visit gigabitvoucher.culture.gov.uk/rural/
Group projects are when two or more residents and/or SMEs get together to combine their vouchers towards the shared cost of installation. Single connections are not eligible for additional funding.Government guidance for community groups can be found here.
You can check whether you are eligible for our Rural Gigabit Voucher by looking up your postcode in the Gigabit Voucher postcode search. The postcode checker will display a line underneath your postcode to inform you whether you meet the rurality criteria for a Rural Gigabit Voucher and list active suppliers in your area.
As this is a new scheme, we would be interested to hear from groups planning to apply. If you have any queries regarding this scheme please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme - Gigabit Capable Speeds up to 1000mbps
Businesses in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough are being urged to make use of a £2500 voucher for gigabit broadband speeds before the scheme closes due to high demand.
The Government’s Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme can be used by small businesses (SMEs) and the local communities surrounding them to cover the cost of installing full fibre gigabit capable connections.
To ensure more businesses and homes benefit, the maximum value of the voucher is being reduced to £2500 to cover an individual connection.
Neighbouring businesses are being encouraged to pool their vouchers together with other SMEs or with residents to share costs, and now up to 10 residents can participate for every one SME.
The £67 million scheme was initially expected to run until March 2021, but high demand for vouchers means that funds are now expected to be committed a year earlier, and perhaps even sooner if the current success of the scheme continues to grow.
To check if you are eligible for a voucher and find a local full fibre broadband supplier, visit gigabitvoucher.culture.gov.uk/
Community Fibre Partnership - Community Funded Solutions
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.