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Standard User mjl123
(learned) Wed 01-Apr-15 13:24:59
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Broadband Connection Vouchers


[link to this post]
 
Does anyone know if you're able to use Broadband Connection Vouchers to fund an Openreach quote to install a Fibre cabinet that would benefit the business and the rest of the community?

it says "If you are eligible, you need to get a valid quote from a registered supplier. You need to use suppliers that have registered with us". BT Plc is listed, and Openreach is part of BT Plc, so I think we're ok there.

I can't see anything against it in the Guidance / terms and conditions (https://www.connectionvouchers.co.uk/eligibility-che...)

Does anyone have an experience of these?

Thanks,
Standard User Fastman2
(member) Wed 01-Apr-15 18:08:00
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Re: Broadband Connection Vouchers


[re: mjl123] [link to this post]
 
The voucher cannot to be used to enabled a cab as that is buildiing nfrastructure and subject to state aid clearance -- you can use the voucher to fund a connecion from an exisint cabinet or other exisitng infrastructure as that twould be funding a connection

Edited by Fastman2 (Wed 01-Apr-15 18:09:17)

Standard User mjl123
(learned) Sat 04-Apr-15 11:47:54
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Re: Broadband Connection Vouchers


[re: Fastman2] [link to this post]
 
Thanks for the reply. I spoke to someone at Gloucester County Council about it and he said the same as you about not being able to pay for infrastructure, but he then said as the cabinet would be required to provide a service then it would be ok.

I wasn't 100% convinced though!

Sadly it's looking like we won't have anyone eligible for the vouchers. Our only option would be to set our broadband campaign group up as a "Social Enterprise", but i'm not if a group that existed solely for the purposes of getting decent broadband would count as a social enterprise.


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Standard User gah789
(regular) Sat 04-Apr-15 18:44:43
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Re: Broadband Connection Vouchers


[re: mjl123] [link to this post]
 
There are ways of doing this via an intermediary ISP who would be responsible for operating the service. You would need to have (a) a significant number of businesses willing to apply for the vouchers (probably 15-20 at least), and (b) a willingness to commit to the service for a minimum period of 3 or more years. Alternatively you can set up a social enterprise to procure and operate the service. It is all very hard work and you would need to be sure that the infrastructure is not going to be upgraded in any other way. It is a long term commitment and requires much more than just signing up to a campaign.
Standard User mjl123
(learned) Sun 05-Apr-15 11:42:42
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Re: Broadband Connection Vouchers


[re: gah789] [link to this post]
 
We've had a quote from Openreach to get a Fibre cab installed of just over 9k + VAT. It's a residential area, but we're hoping at least one person will be running a business from home to get an extra 3k towards our fundraising efforts.

If we were to setup our group as a social enterprise it would only be to get another 3k towards getting the cab installed, we wouldn't want the hassle of actually running anything ourselves, we'd be quite happy to either pay the Openreach quote directly or go via an ISP who would then pay Openreach. What I'm not sure on is if we could setup a social enterprise that doesn't actually do anything other than try and get a fibre cab installed, or even if we can setup a social enterprise if the connection voucher scheme would think we qualified.

We're not in the commercial rollout and we've been left out of our BDUK project's plans, so funding it ourselves is our only option (more info at www.cheltenham151.com)
Standard User gah789
(regular) Sun 05-Apr-15 13:05:51
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Re: Broadband Connection Vouchers


[re: mjl123] [link to this post]
 
I think that the answer to both of your questions is no.

Setting up a social enterprise as either a Community Interest Company or a Company Limited by Guarantee involves a significant commitment to filing company accounts and returns. It wouldn't make sense unless it has a broader objective than just funding a one-off effort. Some rural communities have general purpose social enterprises - e.g. to run a village hall and similar facilities - which could serve as a vehicle for this effort, but it sounds as though that option is not available to you.

I am pretty sure that the local authority responsible for administering the vouchers will require that the company applying has been operating for a minimum period - it is an obvious loophole for residential customers otherwise. Similarly, I think that businesses without separate premises are usually excluded so don't rely on that either.
Standard User mjl123
(learned) Mon 06-Apr-15 08:39:10
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Re: Broadband Connection Vouchers


[re: gah789] [link to this post]
 
I feared that would be the case regarding the social enterprise, but we're getting pretty desperate for options now so we're trying everything.

On the connection vouchers site it says:
"The connection is for your business premises. You can apply for a connection at home if this is your main work base, but this does not apply if you work from home occasionally"

We're hoping we get at least one resident who falls into this category.

We've got an ITV news story coming up too, so hopefully that'll keep the pressure on Fastershire
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