To register for the new gigabit voucher please click the following link which includes details about the scheme, the benefits of Gigbit, scheme eligibility and supplier details

https://gigabitvoucher.culture.gov.uk/

The Chamber have drawn together the following notes to assist you.

As a Chamber we are seeking to gather people together and would like to log your contact details so we can get in touch to provide further details which may be relevant. To register your interest with the Chamber please click here.

Ready for a voucher?

Registered suppliers can offer new and existing customers vouchers to help towards the cost of making new gigabit capable connections. We are registering new suppliers and new products now that the Scheme is live.

If you want a gigabit capable connection and are in one of the participating areas check out the list of registered suppliers  in your area.

  • Contact a registered supplier – find out if they can help you
  • Agree to have a new connection installed
  • Confirm that you are an eligible business
  • Get Ready – Get Connected.

This is a Government scheme so terms and conditions apply. The main limitation is whether there’s a supplier with a network near you who can provide you with the gold-standard connection the Scheme aims to support. You may find you can get a better and more cost-effective service by working with other businesses near you.

B&NES can also provide you with assistance at digital@bathnes.gov.uk or ring 01225 394378.

Why go Gigabit?

Full fibre networks are the future and getting ready for a gigabit speed is a key step for most businesses.

Optical fibre-based networks are faster, more reliable, easier to upgrade and set the gold standard for connectivity. Demand for greater and greater digital connectivity in terms of speed and reliability is set to grow exponentially in future years.

Connections delivered wirelessly also rely on a huge and robust optical fibre network to work efficiently, including 5G connectivity which will also require a future-proofed approach.

Eligibility

Who? The Scheme is for small and medium size businesses across all those local areas taking part in the market test. More information about the formal definition of a SME can be found here.  In summary an SME:

  • Has up to 249 Employees
  • A balance sheet of less than €43 million or a turn-over of less than €50 million

You must not have received more than the permitted amount of de minimis aid in the last 3 years. There’s more guidance on this in the Terms and Conditions

In Bristol, Bath and North East Somerset vouchers are also available for homes.

What? Vouchers help support the capital costs of delivering a new gigabit capable connection to your business premises. If you already have a gigabit capable connection you are not eligible for a voucher. Your new connection must have a minimum speed of 100mbps and represent at least a doubling of speed compared to the service you have now.

When? Vouchers are available now. We will stop issuing vouchers when the £2 million fund we have set up for the test phase has been allocated or by March 2019 – whichever is sooner.

How much? Business vouchers are worth between £500 and £3,000. If your new connection costs less than £500, you will not be able to claim a voucher. If the cost of providing a connection is more than £3,000 then you can “top up”. We cannot pay any VAT or monthly charges. Other conditions apply – see Terms and Conditions for full details 

Where? See list of Local Bodies on the government scheme’s home page.

Here is a copy of our recent Chamber Press Release:

A group of individual community leaders from across the Somer Valley, are backing the Chamber and B&NES Business Growth Team to try and achieve Full Fibre connectivity locally.

“The aim is to challenge the seeming acceptance of the existing low speeds and to raise the level of aspiration by encouraging the community to work together and spread the word. Good Fibre connectivity is already a vital service for businesses alongside other utility – but as software applications grow, higher and higher speeds won’t just become the norm – they’ll be a necessity of everyday business life”, said Tina Veater Chair of the Somer Valley Chamber.

“There is a very real opportunity right now thanks to a new government Voucher Scheme, covering B&NES and Bristol, whereby local businesses in the Somer Valley are now eligible for up to £3000 to get gigabit broadband installed as part of a £2 million trial taking place in four areas around the UK. Overall, the aim of the pilots is to encourage the market to extend full fibre infrastructure in the UK by increasing demand and reducing the cost to customers”, said Paul Myers, Mayor of Midsomer Norton (in a personal capacity). 

“The issue is that previous schemes have targeted either the cities, which the Somer Valley didn’t qualify for OR rural areas which we’ve missed out on, as 80% of the Somer Valley residents live in the five main settlements of Midsomer Norton, Peasedown St John, Westfield, Radstock or Paulton. Then, when you look at broadband speeds in the Somer Valley you see that it is at best patchy and that most people simply put up with incredibly slow speeds. The problem is that this is holding business back in our area”, said Cllr Karen Walker of Peasedown St John Parish Council (in a personal capacity). 

So what is the impact of low speeds? In places like Midsomer Norton High Street, the retail centre of the Somer Valley, the majority of shops simply cannot run online businesses to complement their physical shop, because the speeds are so slow. The lower High Street area is prevented from getting higher speeds because using the traditional copper links there is no cabinet and they are described as being ‘too close to the exchange’. 

“Homeworkers in the valley struggle to work with low speeds. On the industrial estates such as Westfield, businesses are paying over the odds to have dedicated leased lines. All this is holding back the economy of the Somer Valley as fibre services offer the best employment impetus given the poor state of the transport infrastructure. In short working to get a state of the art fibre network in the valley is vital – not just for now but for the future if locally we are to benefit from the digital revolution”, said Brian Walbridge, of Westfield Parish Council (in a personal capacity).

So what would Gigabit speeds allow business to do that they can’t do already? A full fibre gigabit connections would allow businesses to upload and download massive files in a matter of seconds and enable widespread use of things like videoconferencing. It would provide an unprecedented level of reliability whilst greatly enhancing resilience as well as future proofing – making sure that businesses have the technology in place to deal with the ever increasing demands for internet speed and connectivity. 

“Gigabit speeds would also allow businesses and home workers in communities like the Somer Valley to compete on a technologically level playing field with those companies based in major cities who may already have full fibre connectivity”, said Cllr Ann Lyons of Paulton Parish Council (in a personal capacity). 

The trial voucher Scheme will only allow vouchers to be used to help pay for new connections that are “gigabit capable” – gigabit means a minimum of 100mbs upload and download speeds via full fibre connections compared to superfast which has a maximum of 25mbs.

“So if we can get Gigabit capable connections delivered in this way across the Somer Valley they will be future-proof and have the capability to provide incredibly fast and reliable broadband connections”, said Cllr Keith Tyrell, Mayor of Radstock (in a personal capacity).

£2m has been made available for vouchers for the test phase across the four areas on a first come first served basis – so as a community we need to get our skates on and get businesses to apply for vouchers BEFORE the money runs or latest March 2019. Businesses in the same building or business park can pool vouchers subject to conditions.

Follow the link below to the government site but we are seeking to gather people together and would like to log your contact details so we can get in touch to provide further details which may be relevant. To register your interest in the new Gigabit Voucher click here

http://www.investinbath.co.uk/news/gigabit-broadband-voucher-scheme-now-open