Broadband in Buckinghamshire
What is the Connected Counties programme?
Broadband in Buckinghamshire has largely been shaped by a partnership with Hertfordshire County Council called Connected Counties.
This programme started in 2013 as part of a national government match-funded programme through Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK). The programme to extend superfast broadband was partly in a response to "market failure", where private service providers that had no commercial plans to extend services to some parts of Buckinghamshire.
As part of the Connected Counties programme, over 45,000 premises in Buckinghamshire received improved connectivity between June 2013 and June 2016; with a further 12,000 premises expected to be improved between August 2017 and December 2019! The programme aimed to reach 95% superfast coverage by December 2019, but this was achieved 16 months early in August 2018! The programme continues to work to rollout broadband to the final 5% of Buckinghamshire premises.
How are we performing?
To the right are the latest statistics for broadband coverage in Buckinghamshire which were made available on the Thinkbroadband website.
Additionally, the latest report for how many residents are taking up superfast broadband as a result of the Connected Counties programme reveal that the first contract is the second best-performing in the country out of forty-five contracts! More detail can be found on the ISPreview website.
Central government have now outlined their intention to have nationwide full fibre coverage by 2033. That means that residents all over the country will be able to receive gigabit (>1000mbps) speeds by this point. In order to assist with this, they plan to bring in a University Service Obligation (USO) in 2020 where residents or businesses that have speeds below 10mbps can apply for government support to improve their connection. At the moment, they only provide this assistance to residents or businesses who have speeds below 2mbps.
Where can I check to see if my postcode will be affected?
The Connected Counties programme is scheduled to keep improving connectivity in Buckinghamshire until December 2019. To check what your current available speeds are, and if you are due to be included within the programme, please visit the Connected Counties website.
What should I do if I'm not included in the programme?
The Connected Counties programme is striving to improve connectivity to as many Buckinghamshire premises as possible. Unfortunately, the programme is not able to achieve 100% coverage for the county. However, as central government are aware of the need for further funding, they are currently looking at how they might go beyond the current national broadband programme to provide fibre to any remaining premises without a fibre connection. Whilst this is still in the early stages of development and nothing has been confirmed at this time, we are monitoring this closely.
There is currently some support available from central government as well as some broadband providers, and some of these options have been presented below:
Better Broadband Scheme
If you are unable to get broadband speeds higher than 2mbps, you can apply for a subsidy from the following national scheme on the Connected Counties website.
Gigabit Voucher Scheme
A central government subsidy for businesses and residents to contribute to the installation costs of a gigabit-capable connection.
Community Fibre Partnership
BT have recently launched a campaign to make it easier for local groups to pursue a co-funded solution whereby communities can raise funds in order to invest in digital infrastructure in their area. This can be done with a number of providers so that the community receives a bespoke solution for their area.
Is there any more information available?
Within the Connected Counties website, there is a section on frequently asked questions which are periodically updated.