If you are a UK SME business, you may be able to get a grant to upgrade your business fibre to Gigabit speeds.
What is the gigabit connection voucher scheme?
The scheme enables UK businesses to get financial assistance, in the form of a grant, to install gigabit-speed broadband. The gigabit voucher scheme awards range from £500-£3000. The pilot scheme has £2m allocated and will run across four areas in the UK.
Why go gigabit?
Gigabit speeds are delivered over end to end fibre networks. This means that data passes all the way from the carrier network to your businesses over fibre optic cables.
Full fibre networks are the future of business networks, getting your business access to fibre is a key step in futur-proofing your data network.
All fibre network speeds are the fastest you can possibly acheive. They are easy to upgrade, highly reliable and often backed by bullet-proof service level agreements. With the demand for data growing exponentially all fibre networks are becoming the standard for business communication.
Which types of business are eligible?
Two main factors determine your Company's eligibility:
1. You need to be a small or medium size business - this means you must have less than 250 employees, a balance sheet of less than €43 million or a turnover of less than €50 million.
2. You must not have received more than the permitted amount of de minimis aid in the last three years.
Company eligibility is not the only factor determining whether your business can access a grant award. Right now your business must be located in an area covered by the scheme.
What services are eligible for a gigabit voucher?
Not all broadband services can have a Gigabit Connection Voucher applied against them.
The Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport states that:
"Vouchers help support the capital costs of delivering a new gigabit capable connection to your business premises. If you already have a gigabit capable connection, you are not eligible for a voucher. Your new connection must have a minimum speed of 100mbps and represent at least a doubling of speed compared to the service you have now."
Some of the services that are eligible are Gigabit Passive Optical Networks or GPON. The prices for these types of services are as follows:
Gigabit Ethernet services are also eligible. The prices for these types of services are as follows:
FTTP services are also eligible. The prices for these types of services are as follows:
If you are an SME, in an eligible area that wants a Gigabit fibre service, then you'll want to know how to get the grant.
How does the scheme work?
Eligible businesses will work with an authorised Supplier to source a suitable gigabit fibre service. Once a qualifying service has been selected the Suppliers authorised to access the scheme will process the Connection Vouchers and apply the grant to the Gigabit service order.
The first step is to contact one of the suppliers authorised to access the Voucher Scheme. The full supplier list is visible here.
The second step is to get your quotation for the Gigabit service at your location. The supplier will then apply the Gigabit Voucher Grant to your pricing.
The third step is to order the service you have chosen. Your service provider will process the Gigabit Voucher on your behalf.