You will soon be able to use our postcode checker to check if your area is in scope for our programmes.
For now to find out if you’re in current or planned coverage area, please enter your postcode on the Openreach website and select your premise.
If your home or business is not covered by our current programmes, then what happens next? There may be other potential options, to find out more see our alternative broadband solutions page.
Additional investment by Connecting South Gloucestershire
The good news is that there will be more money in the future and the Connecting South Gloucestershire programme will be able to invest to further increase superfast broadband coverage. This includes public subsidy returned by BT as a “gainshare” or dividend from increased customer take-up of internet services.
Local Full Fibre Networks – £200m national fund
The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has issued a call for expressions of interest in accessing funding for local full fibre networks. The deadline was 23 August 2017. A full application process will open in late November. Connecting South Gloucestershire has registered interest and are current investigating options with other West of England authorities to test a small number of projects.
DCMS says it will be inviting bids from a broad range of local bodies for projects in their area that will stimulate commercial deployment of full fibre networks. Local authorities are encouraged to partner with other public authorities and across the widest possible geography to develop a bid using levers such as co-ordinating public sector demand, stimulating business demand and reducing cost of deployment.
Digital Infrastructure Investment Fund – £400m national fund
This Government intervention is designed to improve access to finance for small full-fibre network builders, which find it harder to attract capital than Openreach or Virgin Media.
Traditionally in Britain, full fibre has been difficult to finance because the industry is relatively young and a lack of certainty around future demand makes investment hard to secure.
The Government’s £400 million investment will be matched by private capital. The fund will be managed and invested on a commercial basis by private sector partners, generating a commercial return for the Government.
Launch of EAFRD Rural Broadband Infrastructure Grants
The European Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE) Growth Programme of £30m funding has been launched for which the Connecting South Gloucestershire programme will be applying to invest into our Phase three NGA/Ultrafast to further increase coverage.
Universal Services Obligation (USO)
The Government’s stated intention is that by 2020 every household and business will have “the right to request an affordable broadband connection, at a minimum speed, from a designated provider, up to a reasonable cost threshold”.
The Digital Economy Act 2017 established the power for the Government to introduce a USO for broadband of 10Mbps. However the Government has not outlined how exactly a USO would operate or who will pay for the estimated £1 billion cost. The Government has stated that it is keen for the industry to pay, but no serious proposals have been put forward at this stage. These details will need to be set out in secondary legislation.
Critically, the USO isn’t actually universal, as it will be subject to a reasonable cost cap. This cap exists currently for the USO for phone lines (phone lines costing more than £3,400 do not need to be installed). Ofcom says that a reasonable cost threshold of £5,000 per broadband connection would leave around 30,000 UK premises left unserved.
According to reports in the BBC and The Guardian, BT Openreach has offered to invest £600 million to ensure 1.4 million rural homes have access to a minimum speed of 10Mb by 2020.
BT’s proposal does not, apparently, including any public funding. The Guardian states that BT is proposing to recover its costs through higher charges to rivals such as Sky and TalkTalk, as well as BT’s own broadband unit, to use Openreach’s national network. The BBC says the costs would be recovered through customers’ bills.
Karen Bradley, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport is quoted as saying: “We warmly welcome BT’s offer and now will look at whether this or a regulatory approach works better for homes and businesses.”
“Whichever of the two approaches we go with in the end, the driving force behind our decision-making will be making sure we get the best deal for consumers.”