The Superfast Essex programme, while continuing its fibre broadband rollout, has launched a scheme to help those residents and businesses with no or low broadband connectivity in Essex.
The Satellite Broadband Scheme offers access to a basic satellite broadband service at a capped cost for the first year. The scheme forms part of the national Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) programme, being led by UK Government, and delivers on the commitment to ensure those not currently due to benefit from a fibre upgrade can access download speeds of at least 2Mbps.
So far the Superfast Essex fibre rollout has reached 60,000 homes and businesses - the halfway milestone in the overall programme rollout and just 5,000 away from the total set to be reached by the end of the first phase of work, this summer.
The scheme is available to Essex homes or businesses, provided that their property:
- currently receives broadband speeds of less than 2Mbps,
- is unable to access broadband speeds of 2Mbps or above from any other broadband supplier in the area,
- is not in the plan to be upgraded by the Superfast Essex fibre rollout within six months of the date of application.
Residents and businesses can find out more and submit an application by completing the short online form available at: www.superfastessex.org/satellite
Essex County Councillor Kevin Bentley, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Economic Growth and Waste and Recycling, said: “We’re doing as much as we can to increase access to superfast broadband in Essex but we also recognise that we need to ensure basic online access is available to all residents. This satellite scheme is not a replacement for fibre but will hopefully help to improve internet access for those with no or low connectivity in the meantime.”
Digital Economy Minister, Ed Vaizey, said: “The national rollout of superfast broadband has already reached an additional 3.5million homes and businesses who would otherwise have missed out. We are making tremendous progress, but it’s a massive engineering project and won’t happen overnight. This scheme offers immediate assistance to those homes and businesses in Essex with the slowest speeds and is all part of our transformation of the UK’s digital landscape.”
All applications will be subject to an eligibility check before a subsidy code is issued centrally by BDUK. The code can then be used to purchase a basic satellite broadband service at a capped price from one of four suppliers participating in the scheme – Avonline Broadband, Digiweb, Corsat, or Prime Tech.
The scheme will ensure a resident or business pays no more than £400 for the first year for a basic satellite broadband service (including upfront costs for equipment and installation, and monthly service charges). Customers signing up under the scheme can also choose service packages with higher speeds or greater monthly data caps if they are happy to spend more.
The scheme aims to provide an interim solution to help significantly improve the online experience for residents and businesses currently receiving the slowest speeds. All these properties will still be considered for future fibre deployment, whether or not residents or businesses choose to take up the satellite broadband option under the UK Government scheme.
To find out if you are covered by the Superfast Essex programme’s fibre rollout visit www.superfastessex.org/maps. Properties in areas labelled on the rollout map as ‘Non-fibre upgrade (minimum 2Mbps) by 2016’ are expected to be eligible for the UK Government Satellite Broadband Scheme. Some remote or isolated properties in areas where fibre has been deployed by commercial operators or the Superfast Essex programme may also qualify if they meet the slow speed criteria. Residents should note that the fibre rollout map is not an eligibility indicator for the UK Government Satellite Broadband Scheme, each application for the scheme made at www.superfastessex.org/satellite will be checked individually.
The UK Government Satellite Broadband Scheme is currently planned to operate until December 2017.