Hi All - As i'm in the middle of my CFP at the moment, i thought i would share the following update we received today from Openreach setting out the consequences to the Rural Gigabyte Voucher scheme.
As many of our communities want to utilise Government vouchers to fund their share of their Community Fibre Partnership scheme, we’re writing to make sure you are aware of important changes to the Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme as communicated recently by the Government.
The current scheme will close for new voucher requests on 31st March 2021. This date has been widely communicated by the Department of Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) via BDUK for the past two years.
BDUK have recently briefed suppliers that the current scheme will close to new projects on the 19th February. This is to enable them to prepare for the launch of a new Voucher scheme which they expect to go live in April 2021.
BDUK have also confirmed with approved suppliers of the voucher scheme that:
Whilst Projects (PRPs) funded by the Rural Gigabit Connectivity vouchers will close to new submissions on the 19th February, suppliers can continue to request vouchers against agreed projects until the 31st March, and issued vouchers retain their 12 month validity from the date of issue.
They expect the UK Gigabit Programme voucher to go live in April 2021 to provide continuity to gigabit broadband delivery via voucher projects where possible, and that they will share more details with suppliers, residents and SMEs as soon as they can.
BDUK is working with all suppliers on the scheme to transition eligible projects where possible, so that eligible residents don’t miss out on the opportunity for government funding to provide access to gigabit capable connections.
BDUK have confirmed that they are designing the new scheme to ensure that the vouchers continue to support those premises in the hardest to reach, ‘OFCOM Area 3 postcode sector’ areas. We have been advised by BDUK that currently premises within Area 2 postcode sectors, as defined by OFCOM, will not be eligible in the new scheme.
Please see the attached, provided by BDUK provides guidance at this stage on Area 2 and Area 3 postcodes, but it should be noted that this is still subject to the WFTMR Consultation and therefore subject to change once the consultation is finalised by OFCOM
We wanted to let you know as soon as we heard about these developments, so that you can begin to consider options on how you can fund your share of your partnership with us.
Interestingly the attached excel document we received that showed a list of postcodes that will no longer be supported by a Rural Gigabyte scheme (The new scheme will only cover section 3)