Swindon (Staffs) residents urged to pool Government-backed vouchers to secure ultrafast broadband

Openreach is urging people in the small Staffordshire community of Swindon to get behind a bid to make ultrafast, ultra-reliable full fibre broadband available.

The company – supported by the county council - is asking local residents and businesses to consider pooling Gigabit vouchers, available from the UK Government, to help build a new, gigabit-capable broadband network, where fibre is run directly from the exchange all the way to each property.

Residents who don’t already have access to a 100Mbps broadband service can check if they qualify and pledge their voucher on the Connect My Community website.

Nearby Himley is already using the vouchers to enable Openreach to build a customised, co-funded network. It brings full fibre broadband to an area not included in any existing private or publicly subsidised upgrade schemes.

By working with Openreach in this way more than 120,000 homes and businesses across the UK can already benefit from ultrafast, ultra-reliable broadband.

Kasam Hussain, Openreach’s partnership director for the Midlands, said: “This is a really exciting opportunity for people living in Swindon.

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

Kasam added: “Nearby Himley is already involved in this scheme, and they’re set to join thousands of homes and businesses across the West Midlands that can already upgrade to the Openreach full fibre network. Local people can use our online postcode checker to see what’s now available.

“We’re 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.”

Staffordshire County Council’s cabinet lead for Infrastructure Julia Jessel, said: “Having access to Full Fibre technology and the ultra-high quality, high speed broadband it delivers is a key priority for our council. Access to this infrastructure will make a huge difference to local businesses and residents, creating opportunities in the economy, education and leisure. I urge residents to consider pledging their Gigabit broadband vouchers for the common good and help to make sure that everyone can benefit. It’s common sense”

To claim vouchers which contribute towards the cost of building 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.

South Staffordshire MP, Gavin Williamson, said: “We're committed to levelling up communities across South Staffordshire, and throughout 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 helping to cover the installation costs of companies such as Openreach.

"I urge people to check online if they are eligible for a broadband boost."

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.