Shropshire Council adds £1 million to rural broadband scheme

Extra funding to help rural premises benefit from up to £7,000 for a faster broadband connection is now available in Shropshire.

Shropshire Council has made up to £1 million of additional funding available to ‘top-up’ the Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme, in partnership with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).

For homes, the maximum funding per voucher will be £4,000, thanks to an extra £2,500 per voucher from Shropshire Council. Eligible businesses can receive an additional £3,500, bringing the maximum funding per voucher to £7,000. To qualify for the scheme, residents/businesses must be located in a rural area and be unable to get broadband speeds of 100Mbps.

Lee Chapman, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for organisational transformation and digital infrastructure, said:

“I’m delighted to announce this investment to help rural homes and businesses get better broadband connections. Over 93% of homes and businesses in the Shropshire Council area can already access a superfast broadband connection with speeds of 30Mbps. We’re topping-up the Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme because we want even more premises to benefit.”

Philip Dunne MP has welcomed the boost in funding, Mr Dunne said: “Broadband provision in South Shropshire has improved markedly over the past decade, but many hard to reach areas still do not have any form of acceptable broadband connection. This is particularly frustrating for those who have had to work from home due to COVID, or who have tried to ensure schooling for their children over the internet during the pandemic.”

Matt Warman, Digital Infrastructure Minister, said:

“To ‘level up’ communities across the UK, we’re working hard to spread the benefits of gigabit-capable broadband to the most remote towns and villages. I’m pleased to see Shropshire is the latest area to receive extra support through the government’s voucher scheme, thanks to a funding boost from the council. Whether it’s people’s homes or businesses struggling with slow speeds, I encourage those in rural areas to visit our website to check if they’re eligible for an upgrade.”

In all cases the DCMS funding will be allocated before top-up funding is spent.

The funding for the vouchers in the scheme with a Shropshire Council Top-Up will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis until 31 March 2021, when the national Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme is due to end.

How does the voucher scheme work?

  1. Enter your postcode in the checker on the DCMS website to find a registered supplier and sign up for a gigabit-capable broadband connection
  2. Your supplier requests a voucher from DCMS, who will email you to check that you’re happy to go ahead
  3. Your supplier installs the infrastructure required to deliver your new broadband connection
  4. Once you’re connected, your supplier lets DCMS know the work is done
  5. DCMS emails you to check that the new broadband connection is working properly
  6. DCMS may make further checks, including a site visit, before they pay your supplier.
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