Better Broadband Scheme – Case Study

Bringing Superfast Broadband to North Yorkshire

If fixed line superfast broadband is not available to you, funding and other solutions may be available.

Funding alternatives to fixed line superfast:

Better Broadband Subsidy Scheme

The Government committed to enabling access to a minimum download speed of 2Mbps to every property in the UK from the end of 2015.  Much of this commitment has been delivered by the programmes run by Superfast North Yorkshire (SFNY) and other public bodies elsewhere in the country.  Here in North Yorkshire, as elsewhere, there continue to be some difficult to reach areas in the county where it may be some time before high speed fixed line broadband will be available.

North Yorkshire County Council through the SFNY programme and, in conjunction with Central Government (BDUK), have made available the Better Broadband Subsidy Scheme (BBS) which provides a subsidy for broadband installation for eligible premises.  BBS provides financial support towards the installation cost of one of several alternative technologies, such as wireless, 4G or satellite.  The subsidy voucher has a value of up to £350 and can be used with any of the scheme’s suppliers, so long as they are able to provide a minimum 10Mbps service to the property.

The subsidy is available now for businesses and households that cannot receive high speed fixed line broadband, and are unlikely to get such a service within the next 12 months. The installation of an alternative to fixed line does not preclude users from switching to high speed fixed line broadband in the future, as and when it becomes available.

SFNY has been administering the BBS Scheme in North Yorkshire for BDUK since early 2016.  In that time, SFNY has issued over 1,200 vouchers.

To apply, a householder or business completes a simple online form, which is then assessed by SFNY to confirm if it meets the scheme criteria.  There are a number of checks, but the key criterion is that the proprty cannot currently access a service of 2Mbps or above.  Once this is confirmed, a unique voucher is issued and sent to the applicant.  The recipient then selects an approved supplier capable of delivery to their area from the BDUK list of approved suppliers.

www.gov.uk/government/publications/community-led-broadband-schemes/suppliers.

The BBS voucher scheme is currently set to run until the end of 2018.  BDUK have yet to confirm if the scheme will continue to run beyond 2018. Theses alternative technologies will continue to be available regardless of whether or not the BBS voucher scheme continues.

More information about the BBS scheme can be found on the SFNY website at http://www.superfastnorthyorkshire.com/better-broadband-scheme

Current alternatives to fixed line broadband:

Wireless broadband

Wireless uses radio waves, whereas fixed line broadband is delivered through copper or fibre optic cables. A small transmitter/receiver, typically around the size of a pencil case, is installed on the outside of a property to link with the local wireless provider’s network and this is hard wired to a router inside the property.

One very satisfied wireless customer is Sarah Thurlow, Owner of the Yorkshire Cycle Hub.  She said “We can now run our business like every other business, we now have a live electronic point of sale (Epos) system, accommodation booking system and soon an online shop.  This would not have been possible without this broadband service.  A rural business, we can now use social media to our full advantage and this is priceless.”

Danby Dale, Ryedale – one of a number of locations where wireless broadband is proving effective.

Another happy wireless user is Alastair Jackson, a resident of Great Fryup.  He stated “Before the wireless installation, the fastest speed available to us was around 0.6Mbps, with continual problems with the service.  We are now receiving 20Mbps and a very prompt customer service, with any problems being sorted very quickly.  This has allowed us to use the basic things easily, such as streaming music and films for the family, wifi calling and mailing for any business related issues.”

4G Broadband

4G uses mobile telephone technology to provide broadband services to a property.  In a similar way to wireless broadband, a small transmitter/receiver is installed on the outside of a property to access the local 4G network and this is hard wired to a router inside the property.

An electrical business near Masham have recently used the BBS scheme to install a 4G broadband service and are very happy with the improved connectivity.  They said “Our landline connection was beginning to cripple our business.  We often need to send relatively small PDF electrical reports to customers, but this was just not possible over our fixed line broadband.  We are fortunate to have a good 4G signal at the office and the broadband connectivity is very good indeed.  The cost of the data is a little higher than we would like, but that is a small price to pay for the ability to compete on a level playing field.  The improvements mean we are now looking at getting our engineers to communicate remotely with the office using tablet-based applications.”

A typical 4G broadband installation

Satellite Broadband

Satellite broadband uses a satellite dish to provide two-way access to broadband services.

Robert Metcalfe is a dairy farmer from Bank Newton, near Gargrave and he was struggling to use his telephone line for broadband due to the distance from the exchange.  It frequently cut out, especially when it rained.  Robert has taken advantage of the BBS scheme and used his voucher to install satellite broadband at the farm.  Robert says “The new installation performs well and meets our need for browsing, emails and general personal and business use.  We were using up the data allocation fairly quickly and needed to upgrade to the next package.  This provides us with 35Gb of data a month”.

A typical satellite broadband installation