Goudhurst Broadband FAQ
Lots of questions have been asked about the Rural Gigabit Scheme across social media in Goudhurst and the aim of this page is to hopefully answer them. If your question is not answered please use the Get in Touch link above and we will endeavour to find the answer for you. These vouchers can cover the installation cost of bringing better broadband to the community of Goudhurst – so don’t miss out!
Why do I need fibre broadband?
Fibre offers a more reliable broadband than older copper ADSL connections as well as faster upload and download speeds. This can allow multiple individuals in a household to access the internet for different purposes without the frustration of buffering, slow loading of online content and dropped connections. Faster internet can have far reaching consequences and open up better entertainment, work and communication opportunities. Online call platforms can offer cheaper contact with family and friends than traditional communication methods and help to tackle feelings of isolation and loneliness, an increasing problem, especially for those living alone or in more rural areas.
What is the voucher scheme?
The Government recognise that Gigabit-capable, or Ultrafast broadband connections offer the fastest and most reliable speeds available. The Rural Gigabit Voucher scheme has been designed to support rural communities who are eligible for funding, team up with a network provider and bring that technology to their doorstep. Openreach is one of the Government’s registered network build providers. More information can be found on the Department of Culture, Media and Sport website - https://gigabitvoucher.culture.gov.uk/
The terms and conditions attached to the scheme seem very complicated, will I have any contractual obligations at the end of this?
The main ask is that once the network is in place, you sign up with a service provider of your choice on the Openreach network for a 12 month contract with a minimum speed of 30 Mbs and start enjoying the benefits of ultrafast fibre broadband.
Do I have to order my broadband from BT, or can I choose which provider I use?
No, you are not tied to BT when you pledge your voucher. Openreach will build an open network, meaning that you can order from a selection of service providers, assuming they sell in your area see - https://www.openreach.com/fibre-broadband/fttp-providers
Why was Openreach chosen for the Goudhurst broadband scheme?
The Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme is the Governments scheme for improving the broadband service for areas that are experiencing slow broadband speed see - https://gigabitvoucher.culture.gov.uk/ and Openreach is the UK’s largest broadband network used by customers of BT, Plusnet, Sky, TalkTalk, Vodafone and Zen, giving customers more choice of many internet service providers.
In addition, Openreach has already used the scheme to help more than 150,000 homes and businesses across the UK benefit from ultrafast, ultra-reliable broadband.
Can I still keep my telephone number?
Yes. You can keep your existing telephone number as your phone service will continue to be delivered via the traditional copper network. You can however speak to your provider about the alternative options and benefits an ultrafast fibre service can give you.
Can I use the voucher to meet my current broadband costs?
No. The voucher can only be towards the cost of the infrastructure build only. You will have to pay for a broadband package.
If you already have access to publicly funded broadband infrastructure, you will not be eligible for a voucher but can still support the scheme by speaking to neighbours, family and friends to spread the word.
How many vouchers can I pledge?
A voucher is available for each other eligible residential or business property within the selected postcodes, regardless of how many people live or work at the address. If your home is a registered business address, you may be eligible for a higher value voucher which will contribute more to the scheme but you can only pledge one voucher per address.
Why should I pledge my voucher?
UK telecoms companies are discussing copper ADSL switch off as soon as 2027. The rural Gigabit scheme is designed to get fibre infrastructure in place at low cost to residents, putting us all in a stronger position for better internet speeds (4K and ultra HD for streamed TV and films, social media, video calls and online education) but also ensuring safe, secure access to key infrastructure such as health care, online banking, public services and jobs.
What am I committing to if I pledge my voucher?
The rural Gigabit scheme won’t cost you anything up front and will provide fibre to the premises (FTTP), with download speeds up to a massive 900 Mbps.By pledging your voucher you commit to take out a 12 month internet contract with a minimum data download of 30 Mbs from one of the many service providers that use the Openreach network (as opposed to other fibre structures such as Gigaclear, Callflow/Trooli etc that owns their infrastructure and is the sole internet provider through their network, meaning there is no competition on prices for their packages). Internet Service Providers associated with Openreach include BT, TalkTalk, Vodafone, Zen, Sky and one or two other smaller ISPs such as Cerberus, Uno and Spectrum. The full list is available - https://www.openreach.com/fibre-broadband/fttp-providers
How much could a broadband contract cost me once the faster connection is available?
Costs will vary depending on the package and the service provider. There are many price comparison sites available to review, Ofcom in particular is a good source of information. As an example, one resident in Frittenden was paying £32 per month for speeds of around 8mb and now pays £36 per month for speeds of 149mb, over 18 times faster, with no extra layout costs.
Will I be able to choose a cheaper or slower internet option once my 12 month contract is complete?
Yes. Once your 12 month contract is complete you can choose any package available to your property, such as ADSL or slower/smaller data plans. Pledging a voucher will not commit you to faster speed packages beyond the 12 month contract commitment but will give you more choice in the future.
What will happen if I don’t take out the required 12 month contract after committing my voucher?
The commitment is for a 12 months, but it is not clear what would happen if this was not taken up, as until a service is provided, it would be hard to prove any contract really existed.
I’ve already pledged my voucher, what’s next?
When enough pledges come in Openreach the will send you a Gigabit email, which needs to be read and replied to and then there is no more to do. Once all the emails have been verified by DCMS and Openreach the project move in the Delivery stage, ie, it starts.
How can I help my area reach it's target?
Encourage neighbours, friends and family in the area to check if their address is eligible for this scheme and to pledge their vouchers. If you would like to help out further, please contact David for details.
If Trooli is available to me and I choose a 18 month contract, what does that mean for my voucher?
Trooli (formerly known as Callflow) builds it own fibre network and then directly offers internet services through that network. Unlike Openreach, Trooli does not allow other companies to use that network. There is no competitive element that internet service providers using the Openreach have, meaning they set their own prices and can be more expensive. If you start to receive Ultrafast broadband from another supplier, your voucher will not be valid, but up until then, your voucher would remain valid.
I’m happy with my internet connection, why should I pledge my voucher?
According to Ofcom’s 2018 Home Broadband Report, users getting 10Mbps or less risk becoming second-class citizens. Faster broadband speeds will not only mean multiple people can stream films, play games and access social media uninterrupted now. But it will also make properties more attractive for house swaps, renters and buyers, open up reliable access as government and health services increasingly move online and new jobs and work opportunities appear with advances in technology.
How could slow broadband speeds affect me in the future?
Technology is advancing at a faster rate than ever before and is likely to continue to change how we live in the next 20 years faster than we have experienced to date. Given the speed of adoption of online services during the global COVID crisis, we are likely to see more opportunities for services such as education, government and health to move online to save time, money and access. Copper ASDL connections will face shut off as out dated technology as soon as 2027, as analogue TV signals were in 2012, homes without fibre connection risk being left behind and penalised in a variety of everyday activities.
Additional information -
With thanks to several of our residents for compiling this information and if there are any questions remaining, please do not hesitate to contact David Knight by using the Get in Touch form.