Keen to get the inside line on fibre broadband schemes? Read on and we'll tell you everything you need to get you up to speed.
Broadband Delivery UK's (BDUK) fibre broadband rollout is set to ensure that 95% of UK homes can get a superfast 24Mbps connection by 2017. If that includes you, you’re one of the lucky ones.
However if you're on the 5% of the population who live in the mostly rural areas not covered by the rollout, you're at real risk of being left behind.
Their only options are to sign up for an ostensibly costly satellite broadband service. Or go through the rigmarole of organising local people to support a community broadband scheme.
The good news is that if you decide that clubbing together is the solution, there's now plenty of assistance available from a range of sources. Below, you’ll find a list of organisations who can advise you and help you get the funding to get you and your community online.
Rural Broadband Partnership
The Rural Broadband Partnership can help you found a community broadband project in your area, as well as search for existing community broadband projects to which you can add your support.
It also features template letters for initiating contacting with your local council about broadband schemes and applying for funding.
Find it here: Rural Broadband Partnership
Community Broadband Scotland
Like the Rural Broadband Partnership, Community Broadband Scotland’s site features advice and funding application forms to help you get a community broadband scheme off the ground.
To be eligible for funding, you’ll currently be served by a connection of under 2Mbps or have no connection at all.
Find out more here: Community Broadband Scotland
Government satellite voucher scheme
From December 2015, vouchers to help cut the cost of satellite broadband will be widely available for residential premises in England.
At the time of writing, the scheme was at a pilot stage and was only available in select locations in Suffolk and West Yorkshire.
Under terms outlined when the scheme was announced in March 2015’s Budget, applicants can qualify for vouchers that will cover the cost of installation and equipment. However, applicants will be liable for the monthly cost of the service.
If you’ve in Wales and have a broadband connection that’s under 2Mbps or don’t have a broadband service yet, you can already qualify for a grant of £1000 from the Superfast Cymru project to help pay the set-up fees for satellite broadband.
You’ll still have to pay the monthly subscription, however.
Find out more here: Superfast Cymru
What about pilot schemes for new broadband technology?
As part of the challenge serve the 5% of the UK that’s being left behind, the government is also conducting a series of trials of alternative broadband technology in select locations in the UK.
These are exploring the viability of 4G mobile internet, fibre-to-the-premises broadband, as well as satellite broadband.
Rural broadband success stories
There have been a number of notable rural broadband projects. Business who credit the government’s Digital Cities with boosting their prospects include architects, recording studios and a host of tech start-ups.
Villages have also seen connectivity transformed. The most advanced is Claverton in Somerset, which was the first village to partner with BT to co-fund broadband provision.
Before the scheme, the fastest speeds in the village were less than 1Mbps. Now residents can access fibre optic service with a headline connection speed of 80Mpbs.
Find out more about broadband speeds with our dedicated guide: Broadband speeds explained