LHVT has now received a proposal and quote from Openreach for the supply of high speed broadband to residents and businesses in the village. The scheme would provide Ultrafast Fibre connectivity to anyone who takes it up – this would deliver speeds of up to 1gbs (although no suppliers currently offer this!). It is understood that Openreach will supply a new Fibre connection to a suitable location in the Village and then connect to each property using overhead cables with no need to dig up roads to lay new underground cables.
The total cost of this scheme is £32,893 – so the big question is, how could this sum be funded?
Grants are available via the Department of Culture and Media, called the Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme (GBVS). These grants are £3000 for a small business and £500 for a resident. There are conditions attached, and the key points are;
- All grant applicants must take out a 100mbs contract with one of the approved supplies within 1 year of the installation. As a general rule the 100mbs plan will cost about £55 per month which is about £20 per month more than current high speed broadband, such as BT Infinity. (Sky and Talk Talk do not currently offer a Fibre to the Premises product so some grant applicants may need to change broadband service supplier).
- The number of business grants must exceed the number of residential grants. For example if 5 businesses in the Village applied for grants, there could only be 4 residential grants – a total grant of £17k. Should 2 businesses apply there could be only 1 residential grant – amounting to £6.5k.
Therefore the first question is: How many businesses in the Village would commit to a 100mbs plan – and how many residents would make the same commitment?
The GBVS is available to all Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs) – defined as those that employ fewer than 250 people with an annual turnover not exceeding €50 million, and/or an annual balance sheet total not exceeding €43 million. This includes sole traders. Businesses must not have received more than the permitted amount of de minimis aid in the last 3 years. More guidance on this can be found in the terms and conditions document. https://gigabitvoucher.culture.gov.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/GBVS-Beneficiary-Terms-and-Conditions-3.0.pdf
If sufficient funding can not be raised through the Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme, alternative options may be considered. If GBVS is not used then there will not be the commitment for the 100mbs package, but we should get the true high speed connection many of us are already paying for and not receiving. To date LHVT has received positive responses from about 60 residents. A mix of grant and modest individual funding (maybe hands in pockets time!) could make this project work.
Please confirm to email@example.com if you would commit to the Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme (above) and whether this would be as a business or a resident. Please also confirm if you do not wish to commit to this scheme but would be prepared to contribute to overall costs.
The objectives of this FASTER BROADBAND UPDATE are to provide further information to those who expressed interest, and to gauge level of responses. You are not making any financial commitment at this stage – and none has been made by LHVT. Further information and proposals for funding will be made in due course once responses and comments have been received.
Further information can be found at the Trust’s web site at: www.letchmoreheath.org.uk and at:
The Letchmore Heath Annual Village Meeting (and LHVT AGM) will be held in the Village Hall at 20.00 on Wednesday 19th September (more details later) – Faster Broadband Service is on the agenda. Come along!!