Stuck with below 2 Mbps fixed line broadband, £350 voucher scheme may help
The Government Better Broadband Scheme got extended to 31st December 2019 towards the end of 2018, but in the run up to Christmas the announcement got missed, so time to remind people it is up and running.
For those who have not heard of the scheme before, the idea is that if you only have a sub 2 Mbps download speed connection using fixed line broadband you can apply for a better connection with a limited number of suppliers who are offering a range of options including 4G broadband, fixed wireless and satellite broadband and the supplier will get a £350 (including VAT) voucher to offset the costs of setting up the connection at your home or business.
For connections to qualify the new connection needs to deliver at least 10 Mbps download speed and 0.5 Mbps or better upload speeds and a minimum data allowance of 10GB per month. The service has to be contracted for at least 12 month.
Those who are in a plan to receive superfast broadband within the next 12 months are not eligible, since you are expected to have something a lot better than 10 Mbps within the next year. Using the voucher scheme does not preclude you from seeing further upgrades e.g. a council led BDUK project can still deliver superfast or better services.
The list of suppliers we believe was longer previously but there are still 25 different suppliers and while it may seem odd to have firms supplying 4G we presume that these installers who usually are resellers of the main mobile networks will have mastered the art of getting a good 4G signal by mounting discrete aerials higher up on various buildings.
The broadband universal service obligation (USO) should become the default remedy for those with poor broadband in 2020 and onwards where there is no pre-existing plan to improve their speeds above 10 Mbps. We expect later in 2019 to have more detail on how qualification will be determined for the USO and what timeframes will be allowed for delivery. While the USO is down to BT and KCOM we expect a number of the firms installing 4G kit may end up being sub contracted to people like BT to handle installs in locations where simply posting a 4G router does not solve things.