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Economy Economy

Full fibre connection voucher for companies across the country by 2018

Last updated: 08:21pm 11 December 2019

We will introduce a full fibre connection voucher for companies across the country by 2018…

Conservative Party Manifesto 2017, p.78

Our verdict

With the growing importance of e-commerce and internet-based technologies, access to broadband is a key issue for many small businesses, and rural businesses in particular have complained about the limiting effects of slow broadband connections. This policy is a promise to introduce a voucher scheme to help companies with the cost of installing a full fibre broadband connection.

In late 2017, the Local Full Fibre Network Fund (LFFN) programme was established to encourage commercial investment in full fibre networks across the UK. Funding for the programme comes from the National Productivity Investment Fund.

In March 2018, the LFFN programme launched a £67 million Gigabit Broadband Voucher scheme designed to be used by small businesses and local communities to “contribute to the installation cost of faster connections using gigabit-capable infrastructure”. The vouchers allow businesses to claim up to £2,500, while residents can claim £500 as part of a group project.

In November 2018 the government urged companies to apply as soon as possible, owing to the high demand for vouchers. Initially the scheme was expected to run until March 2021, but “funds are now expected to be committed a year earlier”, if not sooner.

By November 2018, the voucher scheme had been used by 7,000 UK businesses and homes to help with installation costs for full fibre gigabit broadband. The government has fulfilled its pledge. This policy is ‘done’.

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