Not covered by the Superfast Cornwall programme?
If your premises do not fall within the current Superfast Cornwall programme plans for receiving fibre broadband, there are a number of options that you could consider. Whilst each has its own pros and cons, these broadband alternatives could help provide significant improvements in speeds for people on slow and possibly unreliable broadband.
Broadband Universal Service Obligation (USO)
The broadband universal service obligation (USO) will give people in the UK the right to request a decent and affordable broadband connection of at least 10Mbps download and 1Mbps upload. Under the USO, eligible homes and businesses will be able to request a connection, where the cost of building it is no more than £3,400. This right is expected to be in place by end March 2020. It is being overseen by Ofcom and you can see more information at https://www.ofcom.org.uk/phones-telecoms-and-internet/advice-for-consumers/broadband-uso-need-to-know
Privately Funded Fibre Solution
Check out Openreach’s Community Fibre Partnership, which will enable properties to fund a future-proofed full fibre ultrafast broadband solution. The team at Openreach will provide you with a quote for a full fibre solution, also known as Fibre to the Premises (FTTP). You will then be able to order a service appropriate for you from a range of providers listed here.
A wireless network is capable of providing superfast broadband speeds to many properties, particularly those in rural areas which have poor broadband speeds over the long phone lines. Wireless services often provide uncapped monthly data allowances and will usually be much easier to install than upgrading the wired broadband network. The wireless footprint is expanding in Cornwall, so please contact one of the wireless providers if interested.
In some cases, you may be able to access a superfast solution near your property. You could then use a wireless link to transmit the signal to the location you need it.
Cornwall has seen recent improvements in mobile coverage, particularly 4G, which is capable of providing superfast broadband services to many locations beyond the superfast fibre footprint. You can check the current availability of 4G broadband services using the Ofcom mobile coverage checker.
Some people use a more sensitive internal device that will pick up a weaker signal if placed in a window. This can give a much faster and more reliable service than using your phone or a small dongle. Superfast Cornwall have a couple of such devices that we can loan out for a short test. Email us for details.
Others have installed even more sensitive external antenna, which can give even better speeds. Mobile broadband is beyond the scope of the Superfast Cornwall programme, so you would need to arrange your own solution with a mobile provider of your choice.
A satellite broadband connection is available virtually anywhere, and can now provide superfast download speeds of up to 40Mbps. Satellite has an inherent delay due to the distances involved, but you should get used to this when using applications like Skype and general web surfing.
Satellite and Mobile Broadband
Please note that both satellite and mobile services tend to have a monthly download limit. Some satellite services do allow unlimited overnight downloads.
You should seek professional advice (e.g. from your IT provider) to check that all the services you plan to use are compatible with a satellite or mobile connection and whether any reconfiguration is required for things like your network, router and email set-up. Carefully consider your expected use before signing a contract for a satellite or mobile service.
There is support available to help you pay for alternative solutions
Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme (GBVS)
The Government’s Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme has been revamped. As before, the scheme provides vouchers of up to £2,500 for businesses to connect to a Full Fibre solution (i.e. Fibre to the Premises – FTTP) and up to £500 for residents, willing to connect to a 100Mbps service. Details are available at gigabitvoucher.culture.gov.uk
Rural areas are now able to benefit from an enhanced scheme providing up to £3,500 for businesses and £1,500 for residents willing to commit to a 30Mbps service. Details are available at gigabitvoucher.culture.gov.uk/rural
Superfast Cornwall is encouraging businesses and residents that are beyond any existing superfast broadband rollout plans to apply to this scheme.
This scheme could be used to contribute towards the costs of a Full Fibre solution, for example through Openreach’s Community Fibre Partnership scheme at communityfibre.openreach.co.uk, by aggregating the vouchers available across a number of premises. Openreach are a listed supplier on the scheme, so you should be able to work with Openreach to access the government contribution.
Superfast Cornwall Grant Scheme
The Superfast Cornwall grant scheme is funded by Cornwall Council, and will be available to most registered properties not covered in the 2018-2020 rollout, as long as their broadband speeds are less than 15Mbps. This could be used to contribute towards the set-up costs of any viable technical solution capable of delivering superfast speeds, including fibre, 4G mobile, wireless and satellite.
Properties eligible for the Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme (GBVS)
Properties that are eligible for the GBVS must first make an application for GBVS vouchers. This is particularly important for businesses as up to £2,500 per business (including sole traders) is available, increasing to £3,500 in rural areas. If this does not raise sufficient funding, then an application to the Superfast Cornwall Grants Scheme can be made.
Properties not eligible for the Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme (GBVS)
Properties that are not eligible for the GBVS can apply for a maximum of £1,700 from the Superfast Cornwall Grants Scheme. This could be used to cover the costs of fibre, 4G mobile, wireless or satellite solutions.
If you would like to discuss the Superfast Cornwall Grant Scheme or for an application form please email us or call 01872 324991. You should wait until you have your Grant Offer Letter before paying for an installation from your chosen provider. Note that some properties are not eligible for the scheme, including those subject to a Holiday Occupancy Restriction and New Builds. (See FAQ).
Avanti Superfast Satellite Broadband Project
The Superfast Satellite Broadband project, funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), will provide SME businesses across Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly with up to 40Mbps broadband speeds. The scheme enables businesses, which currently cannot get access to superfast broadband, to take up a 40Mbps service with subsidised installation and service charges. Find out more at Avanti.