County Council commits additional £1 million to rural broadband scheme

County Council commits additional £1 million to rural broadband scheme

Hampshire County Council is investing a further £1 million to support the delivery of high-speed broadband to households in rural parts of the county. The funding will ‘top-up’ the Government’s existing Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme, to help people in hard-to-reach locations get a fast, reliable broadband service.

The Leader of Hampshire County Council, Councillor Keith Mans, said: “The Covid-19 pandemic has reinforced how vital it is for communities to have access to reliable fast broadband. This enables people to stay socially connected, perform essential tasks, to work and learn from home, whilst also supporting economic activity.

“The vast majority of Hampshire – more than 97% of premises can access superfast broadband and since 2013, we’ve championed high speed connections for those in hard-to-reach areas. Thanks to this rollout, we have enabled 115,000 more homes and businesses to get connected.

“But it is important that we continue to target additional “broadband not-spots” so we are committing a further £1million to ‘top up’ the national voucher scheme. This will help even more people to get high speed connections where commercial operators will not provide services, due to the higher costs involved. I urge people to check if they are eligible for this financial assistance.”

While superfast broadband (speeds of 24Mbps or more) is available to more than 97% of premises in Hampshire, those living in remote locations have often missed out as they are more difficult – and consequently more expensive – to reach.

The Hampshire Top-Up to the Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme has been designed to address this issue by offering additional funding towards the cost of installing gigabit-capable broadband. It will enable eligible residents to get vouchers worth up to £3,000 per property - double that of the standard voucher recognising the higher costs of installing broadband services in these harder to reach areas. Last year’s scheme supported over 2,400 premises to progress with their plans for full fibre broadband.

Gigabit-capable broadband (also known as ultrafast broadband) has speeds of up to 1,000Mbps or 1Gbps. It means residents will be getting the latest technology, delivered straight to their homes. They will then be able to choose an internet package from a provider to suit their needs and budget.

To qualify for the scheme, residents must live in a rural area, be unable to get broadband speeds of 100Mbps or more and apply as a group of two or more premises. Applications for funding are made by the supplier directly to the Government, there is no need for a separate application to Hampshire County Council.

The Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme with Hampshire Top-Up will be allocated on a 'first-come, first served' basis. To find out more, go to: www.hampshiresuperfastbroadband.com/alternative-solutions/gigabit-broadband-voucher-scheme/

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