Government expands gigabit broadband voucher scheme in Wales

Welsh businesses can now apply for up to £5,000 worth of government funding to get access to gigabit broadband technology.

The Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme is to be boosted in Wales as a result of a new partnership between the Welsh and UK Governments.

Previously, the scheme provided small businesses and surrounding communities with vouchers worth up to £2,500 to cover the installation costs of a gigabit-capable broadband connection.

However, under the new arrangements, the Welsh Government will offer an additional £3,000 to SMEs and an additional £300 per residential property.

UK Minister for Digital Margot James said: “This exclusive scheme for Welsh businesses and communities is a vital part of our modern Industrial Strategy and build a Britain that is fit for the future. Working with the Welsh Government, together we can make sure that everyone in Wales has the connectivity they need for the digital age.

Deputy Minister for Economy Lee Waters said: “Although the vast majority of premises in Wales can now access superfast broadband, we are working hard on assisting the remaining five per cent that cannot access it and where commercial companies have no plans to reach.

“There is no one size fits all solution to reach the final premises, and the Gigabit Broadband Voucher scheme is an important part of a suite of measures to achieve this.

“This voucher scheme can provide a vital funding source for group connectivity projects, and could be of great benefit to communities currently without access.

“I’m pleased we’ve been able to work with the UK Government to provide an enhanced scheme for Wales, taking into account the particular challenges we face here with geography and the location of premises.”

The voucher scheme forms part of wider efforts by the Welsh and UK Governments to improve connectivity across Wales, with the £200 million having Superfast Cymru programme already supported 733,000 Welsh homes.

What’s more, the Welsh Government plans to invest further £22.5 million to bring superfast broadband to 26,000 premises over the coming years. And the UK Government’s Universal Service Obligation will make broadband a legal right for every home and business by 2020.

UK Government Minister for Wales Nigel Adams added: “Improved connectivity for homes and businesses in Wales is at the centre of the UK Government’s efforts to strengthen our economy and support our rapidly expanding digital sector.

“This voucher scheme will ensure more people in Wales have access to reliable broadband speeds, marking another significant leap forward in both governments’ efforts to ensure Wales has a broadband network fit for the future.”