Special Pricing -Terms & Conditions

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Local Full Fibre Networks Gigabit Voucher Scheme

What is it?

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport have £200 million to spend testing ways to accelerate delivery of full-fibre. One of the chosen methods is to use connection vouchers. Wave 1 is £2 million.

Do you qualify? – IMPORTANT

You must check that you are a Small or Medium Sized Enterprise (SME – registered charity, social enterprise or sole trader – not a school or public sector organisation) – which must meet the following requirements to take part in the scheme.

  • Employ no more than 249 people
  • Annual turnover is below ​€50m and/or
  • Balance sheet is below ​€43m
  • Business is not a subsidiary and/or under the control of a larger SME entity (25% threshold)
  • SME must comply with the European State Aid rules: Must have received less than ​€200,000 in the current and two previous financial years in De Minimis aid – businesses in fishery and aquaculture primary production, processing and marketing of agricultural products, coal, steel and ship-building have different allowances, and must seek approval from the local authority before applying.

  • The connection is for business premises. (You can apply for a connection at home if this is your main work base, but this does not apply if you work from home occasionally)

Businesses are able to make joint applications to aggregate vouchers on a business park. SMEs may benefit from multiple connections supported by the Scheme at different locations, but no SME may benefit by more than £3,000 in total. Vouchers are not transferable between SMEs.

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What period does the pilot scheme run for?

The scheme runs to the end of 31st March 2019 or until the money runs out. The scheme may be suspended at any time.

How long are vouchers valid for?

12 months from the date the contract is entered into. Sales orders will include this wording:

Do not sign this contract until you have an authorised voucher. Please note if the service cannot be installed within 12 months of date of contract for any reason, a Connection Voucher will not fund this install. In the event your voucher is revoked on the grounds you have provided misleading information to DCMS, you will be liable to reimburse us the value of the voucher.”

What happens to issued vouchers when the money runs out?

DCMS account for the value committed when the voucher is issued, not paid, so there should not be anyone disappointed at the end of the scheme.

What area does the scheme cover?

The entire administrative areas of:

  • Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire
  • Bristol and Bath and North East Somerset
  • Coventry and Warwickshire – all districts
  • West Yorkshire Combined authorities – Bradford, Calderdale, Kirklees, Leeds, Wakefield and York

Who can apply?

1)   Are they in an eligible area? In Chrome, add your postcode to check to this URL  api.postcodes.io/postcodes?q=   For example, “http://api.postcodes.io/postcodes?q=HD1 5JL” returns:

{“status”:200,”result”:[{“postcode”:”HD15JL”,”quality”:1,”eastings”:414139,”northings”:416987,”cou ntry”:”England”,”nhs_ha”:”Yorkshire and the Humber”,”longitude”:-1.7875763556174,”latitude”:53.6492008037417,”european_electoral_region”:”Yorkshire and The Humber”,”primary_care_trust”:”Kirklees”,”region”:”Yorkshire and The Humber”,”lsoa”:”Kirklees034B”,”msoa”:”Kirklees034″,”incode”:”5JL”,”outcode”:”HD1″,”parliamentary_constituency”:”Huddersfield”,“admin_district “:”Kirklees”,”parish”:”Kirklees, unparished area”,”admin_county”:null,”admin_ward”:”Newsome”,”ccg”:”NHS Greater Huddersfield”,”nuts”:”Calderdale and Kirklees”,”codes”:{“admin_district”:”E08000034″,”admin_county”:”E99999999″,”admin_ward”:”E05001410″,”parish”:”E43000188″,”parliamentary_constituency”:”E14000756″,”ccg”:”E38000064″,”nut s”:”UKE44″}}]} 

Since the Kirklees Admin District is in the above list, this postcode would be eligible.

Does the product qualify? 

All connections supported by vouchers must fulfil BOTH of the following characteristics: 1) Be capable of delivering broadband connectivity to the customer’s premises at or above 1Gbps upload or download at the time of delivery of the connection without the need for future hardware upgrades or modification (excluding CPE – it is not mandatory to deploy 1Gbps capable CPE from the outset if this is not required to deliver service) 

1 There is a subset of vouchers for residential available in Bristol and BANES with a £500 maximum per voucher and the same rules on connection and consumption. Separate terms and conditions will apply.

2) Deliver a minimum of 100Mbit/s to the customer’s premises. The upgraded broadband service must deliver a “Step Change” in service which, for the avoidance of doubt, is at least a doubling of speeds compared to the service currently being consumed. We will need to report the speed of the current connection.

Any existing connection already capable of 1Gbps or above in either direction is NOT eligible to benefit from a Gigabit Voucher. This does not apply in cases where, for customers consuming Business Grade2 services only, the voucher enables new NGA3 Gigabit capability which was not previously available to them and which meets the requirements of both (1) and (2) above.

“Capable” means capable of delivering 1Gb connectivity using any technology. Speeds are upload or download, not necessarily at the same time.

How does the scheme work?

Compared to the previous Connection Voucher Scheme (CVS), the Gigabit Voucher Scheme aims to be more supplier-led and simpler to operate. The aims of the Scheme are also different: whereas the CVS sought to encourage SME take up of new superfast connections, the GbVS aims to encourage the creation and take up of more Gigabit capable (mainly, but not exclusively fibre optic) connections and the creation of new gigabit capable network infrastructure.

Vouchers are in effect discount codes which enable qualifying businesses to benefit from reduced cost gigabit capable connections. There is no mechanism by which an individual business can “apply” for a voucher; suppliers with qualifying products are able to offer vouchers to new and existing eligible customers for qualifying connections. The vouchers are micro-grants to qualifying SMEs. If there are multiple SMEs within a small geographic area (either sharing the same building, of the same business park, for example) then they can aggregate their vouchers together to achieve a collective discount on the provision of Gigabit connectivity to them.

    To qualify for the Scheme, We must confirm that your deployments are capable of delivering 1Gb connectivity within 10 working days of a valid customer order (or the minimal timescale which may be achieved due to external regulatory constraints) with no additional capital/infrastructure/passive equipment upgrades required (excluding CPE).

    2) Deliver a minimum of 100Mbit/s to the customer’s premises. The upgraded broadband service must deliver a “Step Change” in service which, for the avoidance of doubt, is at least a doubling of speeds compared to the service currently being consumed. We will need to report the speed of the current connection.

    Any existing connection already capable of 1Gbps or above in either direction is NOT eligible to benefit from a Gigabit Voucher. This does not apply in cases where, for customers consuming Business Grade2 services only, the voucher enables new NGA3 Gigabit capability which was not previously available to them and which meets the requirements of both (1) and (2) above.

    “Capable” means capable of delivering 1Gb connectivity using any technology. Speeds are upload or download, not necessarily at the same time.

    To qualify for the Scheme, the supplier must confirm that their deployments are capable of delivering 1Gb connectivity to a customer within 10 working days of a valid customer order

    (or the minimal timescale which may be achieved due to external regulatory constraints) with no additional capital/infrastructure/passive equipment upgrades required (excluding CPE).

    How does the scheme work?

    Compared to the previous Connection Voucher Scheme (CVS), the Gigabit Voucher Scheme aims to be more supplier-led and simpler to operate. The aims of the Scheme are also different: whereas the CVS sought to encourage SME take up of new superfast connections, the GbVS aims to encourage the creation and take up of more Gigabit capable (mainly, but not exclusively fibre optic) connections and the creation of new gigabit capable network infrastructure.

    Vouchers are in effect discount codes which enable qualifying businesses to benefit from reduced cost gigabit capable connections. There is no mechanism by which an individual business can “apply” for a voucher; suppliers with qualifying products are able to offer vouchers to new and existing eligible customers for qualifying connections. The vouchers are micro-grants to qualifying SMEs. If there are multiple SMEs within a small geographic area (either sharing the same building, of the same business park, for example) then they can aggregate their vouchers together to achieve a collective discount on the provision of Gigabit connectivity to them.

    What costs does the scheme cover?

    SMEs should not enter into contracts, commitments or expenditure prior to receiving a formal offer of a voucher. Anything spent before the date of the voucher offer can’t be claimed back. The purpose of the voucher is to meet the full, or the significant part of, the directly attributable incremental costs (that are capable of being capitalised under generally accepted accounting practices) of connecting beneficiaries to commercially deployed access infrastructure to enable customers to obtain the high-speed / high-grade service capability they require. In particular, the voucher can be used by the Communications Provider (CP) to provide customers with a step-change in service, which can be obtained either through the provision of new connectivity using LFFN qualifying NGA Networks (including the use of wired or wireless technologies)5 or the provision of business grade connectivity (leased line capability/microwave)6. Broadly, the lines of demarcation in the network that qualify for subsidy are: ●  Network side: The downstream port of the nearest active switching/routing device to a customer’s Network Terminating Equipment (NTE); and ●  Customer side: the customer-side ports (or wireless antenna) of the Network Termination Equipment (NTE) to which a Network Communicating Equipment (NCE) is connected. Passive and powered splitters/combiners, amplifiers, repeaters and regenerators which do not provide a switching/routing function that are within these lines of demarcation qualify for subsidy, as do other intermediate items that are required to provide the requisite service, as described below. Customer Premises Equipment (CPE) or NTE devices which provide a general computing function beyond supporting a network data service do not qualify for subsidy, including most NCE devices, firewalls, telephones, tablets, laptops and PCs. By contrast CPE devices that only provide a networking function, including modems, qualify. Only one wireless router may qualify. The maximum contribution made to the cost of any router by the voucher is £250 ex VAT. 4G dongles, or internal 4G modules for laptops, do not qualify. 5NGA Networks are access networks which rely wholly or partly on optical elements (coaxial, wireless and mobile technologies make use, to a certain extent, of a fibre support infrastructure, thereby making them conceptually similar to a wired network using copper to deliver the service for the part of the last mile not covered by fibre) and which are capable of delivering broadband access services with enhanced characteristics as compared to existing basic broadband networks. The final connection to the end-user may be ensured both by wired and wireless technologies. Given the rapid evolution of advanced wireless technologies such as LTE-Advanced and the intensifying market deployment of LTE and Wi-Fi, next generation fixed wireless access (e.g. based on possibly tailored mobile broadband technology) could qualify as NGA Networks. Next generation wireless access based on tailored mobile broadband technology must also ensure the quality of service level required by the customer at a fixed location while serving any other nomadic subscribers in the area of interest. For example, see Openreach charges for connection at: http://www.openreach.co.uk/orpg/home/updates/briefings/generalbriefings/generalbriefingsarticles/gen01713.do

    While the precise categories of permitted expenditure will be dependent on the solution offered to the beneficiary the following categories of eligible expenditure are intended to provide suppliers with an indication of the likely qualifying items.

    Qualifying network connection costs (for all types of connection)

    • planning, survey, acquisition, site preparation, installation, and commissioning fees. Note that the maximum contribution made by the voucher for the costs of any survey works is £250 ex VAT;
    • provision of building entry points and (including breaking/drilling charges for entry through external and internal walls), trunking and tray work (within end-user’s curtilage) and fibre cable and jointing;
    • necessary supporting structures including poles and other mountings, brackets, fixings, and associated civil works (including craneage);
    • power supplies equipment to support network electronics and optics, including power company connection costs, but excluding any CPE power supplies beyond an existing 240V AC socket;
    • fibre optic cables, sheaths, connectors, joints, splitters and enclosures,, microwave feeders, jumpers, connectors, antenna radomes and enclosures, lightning protection devices, and electrical earthing systems;
    • adapters/converters to ensure that all the pre-existing communications functionality is effectively maintained (e.g. adapters/converters for analogue telephones, dialup modems, alarm diallers or other devices that may contain embedded modems such as medical alarms).

    Business connectivity (fibre) connection costs (for fixed connections only)

    • provision of new footway and carriage boxes, poles and duct infrastructure;
    • costs related to the purchase of way leaves or other easement rights; and
    • CPE (e.g. Optical Network Terminal (ONT) or fibre modem), backup battery, patch panel and residential gateway and associated intermediate power and fibre communications cables).

    Qualifying Network connection costs ( wireless solutions only) 

         ●  provision of building location points (including all associated mounting costs);

    • Radio Frequency (RF) connectors, splitters, combiners, duplexers, diplexers, filters, antennas, radomes and enclosures;
    • External wireless repeaters if necessary for coverage; and
    • provision of building location points (including all associated mounting costs); and
    • wireless CPE costs.

    The voucher  cannot be used to cover:

    • SME connections to basic broadband technologies7;
    • bonded VDSL connections
    • additional charges for expedited connection e.g. time related charges (TRCs);
    • cancellation fees for any pre-existing connection or contract;
    • cabling on the customer side of the CPE to support (e.g. in-premise installation of cat5e and RG6 coax cable or more than one wireless access point);
    • inter-site connectivity;
    • historic capital costs associated with network deployment (excepting where these have been demonstrably deployed at risk by the CP in anticipation of beneficiaries using vouchers to access the network since the launch of this scheme;
    • any of the network elements that may require upgrading to support the final connection e.g. ‘middle’ mile/trunk and core upgrades that are required to support the final connection;
    • costs related to the purchase of wayleaves or other easement rights8;
    • operational expenditures and overheads (Opex), save for those that are direct incremental and one-off costs associated with the installation of the new high-speed / high-grade connection.
    • operating lease rentals, general corporate or unabsorbed overheads, interest and financing charges
    • demand surveys, marketing & other sales costs
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