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Fractured basic broadband satellite scheme emerges
Monday 07 December 2015 14:54:41 by Andrew Ferguson

The voucher scheme to ensure that everyone can have access to a 2 Mbps broadband service is getting off the ground but it would appear at face value to be a very hit or miss process that is emerging.

From the various sites we have found already it seems that there are currently four satellite providers taking part who once you have a voucher code from your local council will subsequently claim back the voucher amount from BT who by virtue of the phase 1 BDUK contracts has the 2 Mbps USC (Universal Service Commitment).

Some project areas seem to say you are not eligible for a voucher code (which may be worth £350 or £400) if they have plans to deploy superfast broadband to your area within 12 months, additionally in some places it says the voucher only covers the broadband and install (though be warned if install/hardware costs more than £350 to £400 you become responsible for the balance) but some seem to suggest it may also be used to cover some of the monthly fee if your setup fees leave some of the voucher available.

One thing that does seem common is that taking up the voucher will not exclude you from any future superfast broadband plans.

The pages detailing the basic broadband subsidy scheme all highlight that it is worth looking at the alternative options such as 4G and fixed wireless solutions, either of these will invariably be a lot better than satellite broadband but you don't get any subsidy to order the service or hardware.

To try and help centralise things we are going to try and update our postcode search with the appropriate subsidy scheme for the various projects. Hopefully the first ones will appear in searches later today.

Update 3:52pm The relevant link is shown for the USC subsidy scheme that covers individual postcodes is now shown on our broadband checker. So far we have found just six council projects but expect to find more as they appear over the next few days and weeks. If you know of a USC satellite scheme page run by a county and it is not listed when you do a postcode search let us know and we will add it.

Update 4:57pm We have found 11 projects giving out some information and these are integrated into our checker now, for Wales we presume the ABC scheme will be used, and in Scotland only the Scottish Borders trial is listed. In England we have, Dorset, Lincolnshire, Shropshire, West Yorkshire, Northamptonshire, Hampshire, Bucks & Herts, Kent, Coventry, Solihull and Warwickshire.

Update 6:21pm The DCMS has published its press release on the satellite broadband for USC scheme. The detail tells us that the reason for the variability in values mentioned across the counties is because there is no fixed value to the voucher, simply that they will be around £350.

A quick run around the UK has given us another five areas with the USC scheme up and running, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire, Gloucestershire, Herefordshire and Durham. Though the Durham page is generating a 404 at present.


Posted by Blackmamba 11 months ago
Hi Broadband Watchers.
After all the option,s have been looked into the (350k customers ) see other report under 2 meg will fall to a very low leval because they will be covered by Openreach programe and 4G and are all ready been covered as new cabs open.
Posted by RuralWire 11 months ago
Probably worthwhile me saying that there is a press release on the Avanti website, which has appeared today, claiming that they have signed "a new contract with BT, to be part of BT's supply of wholesale consumer broadband services" with the satellite broadband services being sold "through a network of satellite resellers under the auspices of the British Government’s Universal Service Commitment." Apparently, up to 300,000 homes will be eligible for help from HMG to fund the installation of a satellite broadband service etc.
Posted by gerarda 11 months ago
Why has there been no official announcement of this scheme from DCMS or BDUK. Are they too embarrassed to do so? The money suggests that they are expecting the vast majority of eligible premises not to take it up.
Posted by RuralWire 11 months ago
@gerarda - Interesting point. At this time, there is also no mention on the BT PLC website of the new contract with Avanti. I wonder why?
Posted by gerarda 11 months ago
An announcement has been sneaked out this evening

However whether you are eligible for the scheme and what you get for it is as clear as mud.

Suffolk CC who you may recall wanted to install a wireless overlay to get everyone basic broadband but was overuled by BT, sorry I mean BDUK, appear to be so ashamed of their involvement with this solution there is no mention of it on the website and you have to go via a link from the to get the scheme and the application form
Posted by cyberdoyle 11 months ago
The contract with avanti would have been signed around 2010 when they became BT partners in this superfarce.
Posted by RuralWire 11 months ago
@cyberdoyle - The announcement relates to a new contract between Avanti and BT. Nothing to do with the 2010 contract as such.
Posted by SLAMDUNC 11 months ago
Late to the party here. I see Digiweb has very uneven pricing: £99 for Scotland and NI 100GB usage; England package for a mere 40GB is £179 (albeit at a slightly more super speed)! Although the smaller packages are priced about the same.
I guess they're trying to manage the hordes (?) of applicants.
I can't help thinking there's going to be a lot of dissatisfied customers from this venture.
Posted by chrisbower 10 months ago
Come on TBB - time to list County Broadband as an ISP. They offer a service comparable to FTTH to rural users in Essex that BT (or is that BDUK?) will not touch.
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