Subsidised support for basic broadband
The Better Broadband Voucher Scheme is a UK-wide government subsidy scheme to provide an affordable, basic broadband installation to homes and businesses that are unable to access a broadband service with a download speed of at least 2 Mbps – and who will not benefit from the superfast broadband roll out within the next 12 months.
Since its launch in December 2015, the scheme has boosted the broadband speeds of more than 20,000 homes and businesses in some of the hardest to reach areas of the UK.
Households and businesses that are eligible to take advantage of the scheme have the installation and hardware costs of their connection subsidised to ensure their first year costs are no more than £400.
To find out more about the scheme and whether your premises could be eligible please go to: https://basicbroadband.culture.gov.uk/
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Better Broadband Scheme?
The Scheme has been developed by the UK government to ensure that every household and business in the UK can access an affordable basic broadband service. We define an affordable service as one that costs no more than £400 a year including installation and equipment.
Who is eligible?
Any household or business who cannot access an affordable basic broadband service with a download speed of at least 2 Mb per second.
How do I check if I'm eligible?
First check that you cannot access superfast broadband (speeds of more than 24Mbps) at www.gov.uk/gosuperfast. If your premise is not listed as benefiting from the roll out of superfast broadband use the BT checker to find out what your current broadband speed is at www.dslchecker.bt.com.
- – If the speed checker identifies that your premise already benefits from speeds greater than 2Mbps you ARE NOT eligible for a subsidy.
- – If the speed checker identifies that your broadband speed is under 2 Mb per second you might be eligible for a subsidy.
- – If there are plans in place to bring superfast broadband to your household or business within 12 months you will not be eligible for a subsidy.
- – If there are no plans to bring superfast broadband to your home and your current speed is confirmed as less than 2Mb per second you will be eligible
What help can I get if I'm eligible?
You can get help with the cost of installation and any equipment you need to access a basic broadband service at an affordable price.
What costs are not covered?
The scheme does not cover the cost of monthly subscriptions. Monthly fees vary depending on the amount of data and speed of broadband connection you choose.
What quality of broadband can I expect to receive from the Scheme?
This will depend on a number of factors including the type of broadband package you choose to buy and whether you decide to take up a satellite or a wireless broadband service, if this is available in your area.
4G mobile broadband is a solution that may provide fast download speeds if your home has good mobile coverage. Your supplier will fit a powerful 4G Antenna on the outside of your property. Outdoor antennas that can receive a signal from any direction and increase its strength will help expand your 4G Broadband reception beyond its traditional range. Inside, a router connected to the external 4G antenna allows streaming to multiple devices in the home. Mobile broadband is often described as being the only real alternative to fixed line services because it has the advantage of being both affordable and widely available, from almost anywhere, to a significant portion of the UK population.
Satellite broadband can deliver speeds of 10Mbps (or significantly more) but the speed is not guaranteed throughout the day and packages usually have monthly data caps. You will need to consider how much data you are likely to require and the monthly costs of different packages. Some satellite packages allow you to transfer data overnight without adding to the monthly costs. You will also experience a short time delay with satellite broadband as the broadband signal has to travel to the satellite and back to Earth. This may take a bit of getting used to.
Wireless broadband performs in a similar way to broadband delivered over the telephone network but the quality of the service will vary dependent on the product selected. Wireless broadband is only available in certain parts of the country.
How do I apply?
You can only request a voucher through a registered supplier. You will find a list of registered suppliers here. If you think you are eligible – because you can’t get a broadband connection today that is faster than 2 Mbps and you are not in an area where public money will make a better service available to you in the next 12 months – you should contact your chosen supplier and discuss the solution you want. Your supplier will do the rest.
Do I have to take out a contract?
Yes. You are required to sign a contract with your chosen supplier for a minimum of 12 months. If you want to terminate within the first year you may have to pay a termination fee and repay the subsidy you have benefited from.
When is the scheme open until?
If you are eligible you can apply for a subsidy code until the end of December 2019.
Are there other options if my broadband speed is less than 2 Mbps?
Yes. You may be able to get:
- a basic broadband service from a 4G mobile broadband supplier. You can check current availability by using the Ofcom mobile coverage checker at ofcom.org.uk/mobile-coverage
- a wireless broadband service in some areas. Information on available operators and network providers can be found by searching online.
- a superfast service in the future
Can the subsidy be used to support fibre broadband?
One of the suppliers offering services through the scheme is BT, via its Community Fibre Partnerships scheme. The subsidy can be used to support coverage delivered through a Community Fibre Partnerships project, but the project has to be ready to go live at the time when the eligibility code is claimed (otherwise, the subsidy scheme would not be providing access in a timely way to an improved service).
I am in a superfast rollout area but will not be upgraded for a long time and my speed is less than 2 Mb per second. Am I eligible?
You may be eligible for a subsidised broadband connection as an interim fix if the planning to bring superfast to your property has not yet started.
Superfast broadband is planned to be delivered to my area. Why do I have to wait rather than get a subsidy now?
There are strict rules around spending public funding to support the delivery of broadband services. The government cannot publicly fund two solutions to the same property within the same 12 months.
Who is the scheme managed and funded by?
The Better Broadband Scheme is managed by Local Broadband Programmes in partnership with The Department for Culture, Media and Sport and is jointly funded.