As part of the Rural Gigabit Connectivity programme announced by DCMS in May 2019, there is also the new rural voucher scheme available offering business and residents in some of the hardest-to-reach places in the UK, additional funding towards the cost of installing gigabit-capable broadband to their premises when part of a group project:
- £3,500 for small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs)
- £1,500 per residential premise
Group projects are when two or more residents and/or SMEs combine their vouchers towards the shared cost of installation; single connections are not eligible for additional funding. Premises must meet eligibility and be defined as "rural" and also be currently receiving less than 100 megabits per second. The connection will then need to be gigabit-capable, with a minimum new speed taken by the customer as a "step change” - double current speed; at least 30Mbps.
"Rural" is defined by the Rural Gigabit Connectivity programme using agreed standard measures in the relevant part of the UK. For the gigabit voucher premises in the following areas will be defined as rural.
- England & Wales – DeFRA definitions D1 – F2
- Northern Ireland – NISRA definitions E – H
- Scotland – NRS definitions 3 – 6
***Table above updated January 2020***
The Rural Gigabit Connectivity programme will also accompany other BDUK Programmes that are delivering UK full fibre, such as ‘Superfast Broadband’ and ‘Local Full Fibre Networks’ and will not overlap with areas where a solution is already available or will be delivered through existing interventions.
The Government is committed to a vision of a full fibre Britain and has set the target of reaching 15 million premises with full fibre by 2025 and a nationwide network by 2033. The funding for the RGC programme has derived from the Government’s National Productivity Infrastructure Fund (NPIF), which is designed to strengthen UK productivity and raise living standards.