Buckie residents urged to pool vouchers to deliver more ultrafast broadband

Ministers support new Openreach initiative to extend rural next-generation network build

Openreach is asking residents in Buckie to get behind a bid to bring ultrafast, ultra-reliable full fibre broadband to even more local homes and businesses.

The company will start to build the town’s new full fibre broadband network next year – and is urging local residents and businesses to consider pooling broadband vouchers available from the UK and Scottish Governments to help extend the build even further.

Residents who don’t already have access to a 100Mbps broadband service can check if they may qualify and pledge their voucher on the Connect My Community website (http://www.openreach.co.uk/buckiepr).

The vouchers can be combined to extend the ultrafast, ultra-reliable network to premises in outlying rural areas which won’t be covered by private investment.

Robert Thorburn, Openreach’s partnership director for Scotland, said: “This is a really exciting opportunity for Buckie to bring full fibre infrastructure to the very hardest-to-reach local addresses.

“Because we’ve already committed to build full fibre to the majority of the town, the Scottish and UK governments are supporting this incremental approach to help us to go even further. But it’s only possible with everyone working together – you, your neighbours and Openreach.

“Everyone who pledges a voucher will be doing their bit to help make Buckie one of the best-connected places in Moray. Pledging couldn’t be simpler, but we need residents to act quickly – as the UK scheme closes in March 2021.”

Robert added: “Openreach is investing £12 billion to build full fibre broadband to 20 million homes – and more than three million of those will be in the toughest third of the UK – but we can’t upgrade the whole country alone. This latest support from government, alongside help to remove red tape and barriers that slow down the build, is vital.”

To claim vouchers which contribute towards the cost of building the new network, residents are asked to commit to ordering a full fibre service from a provider of their choice for at least 12 months once the new network is available.

Eligible residents qualify for up to £1,500 for rural homes and up to £3,500 for small and medium-sized businesses under the UK Government’s Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme – whilst the Scottish Government can boost the funds to eligible households by a further £5,000. The agreement between the two Governments means maximum funding of £6,500 for eligible households and £8,500 for qualifying businesses could be available.

Banffshire and Buchan Coast MSP Stewart Stevenson said: “I am delighted work is set to begin next year on bringing full fibre broadband to Buckie. I know residents and businesses will both welcome this announcement. I would urge everyone living in the area to check if they can use their broadband vouchers to help extend the build even further. As more and more of us rely on broadband working from home it is important we can get the most out of it. The vouchers will help to build on the work carried out which is particularly important in rural areas.”

The UK Government’s Digital Infrastructure Minister Matt Warman said: “We're committed to levelling up communities across the UK with lightning-fast gigabit broadband that will improve lives and boost the economy. The broadband vouchers on offer provide immediate financial help for people to get next-generation speeds by covering the installation costs of companies such as Openreach. I urge people to check online if they are eligible for a broadband boost."

The Scottish Government’s Connectivity Minister Paul Wheelhouse said: “Vouchers are an important part of delivering on our commitment to give every address in Scotland access to a superfast broadband connection by the end of 2021. It’s good to see Openreach working with communities to encourage aggregation of vouchers. This was always the plan for how SBVS would work and we will continue to work with all of our registered suppliers to encourage further voucher aggregation across Scotland.”

Full fibre technology provides more reliable, resilient and future-proof connectivity; meaning fewer faults; more predictable, consistent speeds and enough capacity to easily meet growing data demands. It's also future-proof, which means it will serve generations to come and won’t need to be upgraded for decades.

Fibre optics - strands of glass around one-tenth the thickness of a human hair - transmit data using light signals. Fibre is smaller, lighter and more durable than copper cabling and less vulnerable to damage. This short video explains what full fibre technology is and there’s more info here.