The UK Gigabit Programme or 'Project Gigabit' is a £5 billion government infrastructure project that brings together everything the government is doing to enable and deliver fast and reliable digital connectivity for the country.
Project Gigabit includes schemes such as the Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme (see below) and also phased contracts to those hard to reach parts of the UK that will need government support towards the cost of gigabit-capable broadband.
Most of Surrey is included in phase 2b (Lot 22), with the contract due to start in December 2023.
Project Gigabit contract timeframes
As part of this programme, Building Digital UK (BDUK), part of Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), has launched phased contracts to those hard to reach parts of the UK that will need government support towards the cost of gigabit-capable broadband. Surrey is included in Phase 2 with the contract due to start in December 2023. The coverage and contract value details are subject to the outcomes of an Open Market Review (OMR) that took place in October 2021 and a Public Review that ended on 29 April 2022. The procurement process is anticipated to start in December 2022.
To complement this work and to support pace of delivery there are several other elements to Project Gigabit including the Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme (see below) that residents and businesses may wish to consider.
Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme
Find out if you could be eligible for Government vouchers towards the deployment for fibre broadband infrastructure by checking your postcode on the Government's Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme website. Groups of two or more residential properties or small/medium businesses (SMEs) in rural-designated postcodes could be entitled to vouchers to upgrade their broadband if they are only able to access download speeds of less than 100Mbps on not gigabit-capable infrastructure and are not in any plans for a broadband upgrade.
Connections to single properties aren't eligible, and there may be costs for property owners. However, as the vouchers are worth up to £1,500 per residence and up to £3,500 per SME, more properties involved will help reduce the cost.
Residents and businesses benefitting from these vouchers are required to take up a service delivered on gigabit-capable infrastructure that must reach:
- At least double your existing speed if your current speed is less than 50Mbps
- At least 100Mbps if your current speed is more than 50Mbps
Anyone interested in this scheme should work with neighbours and other homes and businesses in their area who are interested in improving broadband speeds. Then contact one of the authorised suppliers on the Gigabit Voucher website that you will find below your eligible postcode. They will be able to advise and support your eligibility and guide you through the process. If you would like to discuss this in more detail, please contact our SCC broadband officer at firstname.lastname@example.org
Please Note: Due to the forthcoming Project Gigabit procurement in Surrey, the Government will pause the Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme in Surrey for between 4 and 9 months from 15 July 2022.