Project Gigabit

National effort towards faster gigabit connectivity

The government’s Project Gigabit mission is to deliver nationwide coverage of gigabit-capable broadband as
soon as possible so that browsing the web, maximising digital technology in your business, and keeping in touch with families, friends and colleagues is easier.

Two initiatives are active across Cheshire – Gigabit Voucher Scheme and Gigahubs:

1 Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme

This recently relaunched scheme is designed to benefit small and medium sized rural businesses, (SMEs) as well as the local communities surrounding them.  The scheme requires two or more residents and/or eligible businesses to get together to combine their vouchers towards the shared cost of installing gigabit broadband
before choosing a participating supplier in their area to complete the installation.  Vouchers are available until April 2024.

The supplier will be able to claim discount vouchers from BDUK against the cost of any approved gigabit connection, with up to £3,500 being available per business and £1,500 per residential premises.  If the cost of the installation is more than the value of the pooled vouchers, the businesses and residents will need to fund the difference.

The scheme is not available if your area is likely to see a gigabit capable network being built commercially any time soon, or if your locality has been advised it will benefit from the new Connecting Cheshire Partnership project, Digital Cheshire.  Your chosen supplier will be able to advise and support your eligibility and guide you through the process.

For more information see here, this link also leads to a handy postcode checker.

2 Gigahubs

Project Gigabit funded GigaHubs aim to build on the success of the Rural Gigabit Connectivity programme which has seen the Connecting Cheshire Partnership assist BDUK/DCMS work closely with their colleagues across government (primarily the Department for Education in Cheshire to date) to connect school and community buildings used for learning to resilient, lightning-fast broadband.  This initiative not only improves public services for remote and rural communities but also helps drive the availability of gigabit infrastructure and connectivity services into some of the hard to reach areas that immediately surround these hubs.  The next stage is to identify additional eligible buildings with assistance from the Department of Health and Social Care and DEFRA to broaden the reach to communities, and the Connecting Cheshire Partnership will assist where it can to make strong investment cases for delivery.

3. Regional procurements

Cheshire has been assigned to the Third Phase of regional procurements planned by DCMS, whereby a telecoms provider will be appointed to our area to deliver gigabit where the market does not.  Aiming to be in place for when the Digital Cheshire programme ends deployment, the Open Market Review we recently conducted is being used to identify premises that cannot currently access 30Mbps superfast broadband, and will remain out of scope of Digital Cheshire.  Importantly regional procurements will also be expect to target Very Hard To Reach premises so will play a valuable role in our levelling up ambitions.