Whalley residents urged to pool Government-backed vouchers to deliver more ultrafast broadband

Openreach is asking the community of Whalley to get behind a bid to bring ultrafast, ultra-reliable full fibre broadband to local homes and businesses.

The company is planning Whalley’s new full fibre broadband network and is urging residents and businesses to consider pooling broadband vouchers available from the UK Government 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.

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 the North, said: “This is a really exciting opportunity for Whalley 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 village, the UK government is 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 Whalley one of the best-connected places in Lancashire. Pledging couldn’t be simpler, but we need residents to act quickly – as the scheme closes in March 2021.”

Robert added: “Thousands of homes and businesses across Lancashire can already upgrade to the Openreach full fibre network, and 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.”

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.

Nigel Evans, MP for the Ribble Valley, backed the initiative, saying: “Now, more than ever, rural communities need fantastic connectivity to fully interact with the world. Full fibre technology will make a massive difference to local homes and businesses. It makes sense for the local build programme to be extended as far as possible, and I urge residents to consider pledging their vouchers for the common good and help us to make sure that nobody’s left behind.”

UK 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 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.