Better Broadband Subsidy Scheme

Digital Scotland administers the UK Government’s Better Broadband Subsidy Scheme in Scotland. Its aim is to ensure that the remaining 5% of homes and businesses not covered by the current DSSB programme can at least enjoy basic broadband while they await 100% Superfast coverage between now and 2021.

If you’re eligible for the Better Broadband Subsidy Scheme, you must apply before the end of December 2018. Fill out an application form here. Hopefully, though, you’re among the 95% of Scottish homes and businesses that will have Superfast by then.

Who can apply?

You can apply for Better Broadband Subsidy Scheme vouchers if:

  • Your home or business can’t currently access a broadband download speed of at least 2Mbps
  • There are no affordable alternatives that provide at least 2Mbps download speeds
  • There are no plans to bring Superfast Broadband to your location within 6 to 12 months of your application.

You must be the owner or occupier of the address you give on the application form.

Even if your household or business appears to be eligible for Better Broadband vouchers, we still recommend researching alternatives. There may be satellite or 4G providers, or other broadband services that aren’t registered with the Scheme, who can offer a better deal.

4G options

Digital Scotland administers the UK Government’s Better Broadband Subsidy Scheme in Scotland. Its aim is to ensure that the remaining 5% of homes and businesses not covered by the current DSSB programme can at least enjoy basic broadband while they await 100% Superfast coverage between now and 2021.

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How it works?

Households and businesses that are eligible to take advantage of the Scheme will be provided with a unique code that will cover most of the cost of the installation and commissioning of a basic broadband service including any necessary equipment. The code does not have a specific fixed value but when used to obtain a basic broadband service installation/commissioning from a registered supplier, will reduce the total cost by up to £350.

The scheme will ensure that no household or business will need to pay more than £400 per annum (ie. maximum of £33.33/month contract) to access a basic broadband service over a 12 month period.

There is a requirement to enter into a contract for a minimum of 12 months with one of the suppliers registered under the Scheme and pay the remaining cost of installation (if any), the monthly charge for the service they select, and any VAT payable.

The code has no other value and cannot be redeemed in any other way than through the Scheme.

Who can apply?

Households and businesses can take advantage of the Scheme if they meet the following three criteria :

  1. Your home or business is not currently able to access a broadband download speed of at least 2Mb per second.      
  2. There are no alternative affordable broadband services available to you, which would provide a download speed of at least 2Mb per second.
  3. There are no plans to provide superfast broadband to your location within 6 to 12 months of your application.

Households and businesses that apply for a subsidy will be asked to confirm there are no alternative affordable broadband services available to them that offer a broadband speed of at least 2 Mb per second.

We will also ask you to confirm that you do not already have a satellite or wireless broadband service installed and that you are the owner or occupier at the address given on the application form. We cannot accept applications from anyone who is not the owner or occupier at this address.

If we believe a household or business is likely to be able to access fibre broadband within 6 to 12 months we will not issue you with an eligibility code, but if fibre broadband availability is more than 12 months away, or not yet planned, we will issue you with a code.

If your household or business appears to be eligible for the Scheme we still recommend that you research what other options are available to you before applying for a subsidy as there may be suppliers who are not registered with the Scheme who may offer more favourable terms (for example by offering a longer contract period) than the broadband packages available under the Scheme.                                                                

If you decide to take up a broadband package from a supplier who is not registered with the Scheme you will not be able to benefit from a subsidised broadband installation.

You can check the current availability of 4G broadband services using the Ofcom mobile coverage checker at Ofcom Mobile Coverage checker                                                                                                                         

You can check if a fixed wireless broadband network is available in your area by searching for wireless operators and network providers in a search engine.  

One of the suppliers offering services through the Scheme is BT, via its Community Fibre Partnerships scheme. The subsidy can be used to support coverage delivered through a Community Fibre Partnerships project, but the project has to be ready to go live at the time when your unique eligibility code is claimed (otherwise, the subsidy scheme would not be providing access to an improved service in a timely way). You can check if a commercial or community-led fixed wireless broadband network is available in your area by searching for wireless operators and network providers in a search engine.

How much will it cost?

Households and businesses that are eligible to take advantage of the Scheme will be provided with a unique code that will cover most of the cost of the installation and commissioning of a basic broadband service including any necessary equipment. The code does not have a specific fixed value but when used to obtain a basic broadband service installation/commissioning from a registered supplier, will reduce the total cost by up to £350.

The scheme will ensure that no household or business will need to pay more than £400 per annum (ie. maximum of £33.33/month contract) to access a basic broadband service over a 12 month period.

Apply online if you are eligible

If your household or business is eligible under the Scheme and you have decided you would like to take advantage of a basic broadband installation subsidy enter your post code and complete the simple online application form at:

Apply for the better broadband scheme                                                           

We will ask you to provide the following information on the application form

  1. Your postal address, including your post code
  2. The main telephone number at your address, if there is one available.
  3. Your name and contact details including mobile phone number and email address.

If your application is successful we will email you a unique eligibility code together with the full list of suppliers registered to offer a subsidised broadband installation service in your area. The suppliers offer a variety of broadband packages, at different prices, to meet the needs of a range of consumers and businesses. We recommend you review the products and prices from each supplier before selecting the product that best meets your needs.

We aim to process all applications within 30 working days.  This may occasionally not be possible due to high volumes of applications.

Any data errors in the application form will increase the processing time.

To take advantage of a subsidised installation you must present your unique code to your chosen supplier when you place your order for the service and enter into a contract for a minimum of 12 months.

Orders must also be placed within 60 days of receiving the email with your unique code although the actual installation date can take place after this.

The code has no other value, and can only be redeemed by presenting it to a supplier registered under the Scheme.

If you choose to take up a broadband service with a supplier who is not registered under the Better Broadband Subsidy Scheme you will not be able to use the code issued under the Scheme and will have to meet the full cost of installation, commissioning and monthly charges for the service yourself.

If your application is not successful we will email you to let you know why we are not able to issue you with a code. If you are not satisfied with the reason given you can submit one appeal by email to SuperfastPMO@gov.scot setting out why you believe we should have issued you with a code. We will review our decision in the light of your appeal and make a final judgement. We are not able to consider more than one appeal per applicant.

 The Better Broadband Subsidy Scheme is delivered through a partnership between The Department for Culture, Media and Sport, Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband and the registered retail service providers. It is jointly managed by Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.    

Apply for the better broadband scheme 

Using the Code (What to do next)

Once you have received a unique code you should:

  • Review and compare the products and prices available from the service providers. Each provider will be offering a variety of packages based around the amount of data you need and the speed of the connection. The providers who are taking part in the scheme are:

Supplier

URL

Technology

4G Internet

http://www.4g-internet.co.uk/

4G

Badenoch Broadband (Highlands of Scotland)

http://www.badenochbroadband.com/

Fixed Wireless

Bentley Walker

https://www.bentley-walker.com/

Satellite/4G

Big Blu

https://bbb-plc.com/

Satellite

Borderlink

https://www.borderlink.co.uk/

Fixed Wireless

Briskona

https://www.briskona.com/

Fixed Wireless

BroadbandShack

www.broadbandshack.com/

4G

Broadband Wherever

https://www.broadbandwherever.net/

Satellite/4G

Broadway Partners

https://www.broadwaypartners.co.uk/

Fixed Wireless

BT Community Partnerships

https://communityfibre.openreach.co.uk/

FTTH

Caleycom

https://www.caleycom.net/

Fixed Wireless

CloudNet Solutions (Highlands and Islands)

http://www.cloudnetsolutions.co.uk/

Fixed Wireless

Cromarty Firth

http://www.cfwn.co.uk/

Fixed Wireless

Digiweb

http://www.digiweb.com/

Satellite

EE

https://shop.ee.co.uk/broadband

4G

FibreCast

https://www.fibrecast.uk/

Fixed Wireless

Highland Community Broadband (Highlands of Scotland)

http://www.hcbroadband.co.uk/

Fixed Wireless

Highland Wireless (Highlands of Scotland)

www.highlandwireless.co.uk/

Fixed Wireless

Jola

https://www.jola.co.uk/

4G

Lincolnshire Satellite Broadband

http://lincolnshiresatellite.com/

Satellite

Lothian Broadband

http://www.lothianbroadband.com/

Fixed Wireless

Marykirk Community Broadband (Dundee and Aberdeenshire)

https://www.marykirk.com/

Fixed Wireless

Northsat Ltd (Highlands of Scotland)

www.northsat.co.uk/

Fixed Wireless

NotSpot Broadband

https://notspotbroadband.com/

Satellite/4G

Prime Satellite Broadband

https://primesatellitebroadband.com/

Satellite

SAS UK

http://www.sasukinstallations.co.uk/

Satellite

ScotNet

https://www.scotnet.co.uk/

Fixed Wireless

SimRush

https://www.simrush.com/

4G

South West Satellite Solutions

http://www.southwestsatellitesolutions.co.uk/

Satellite/4G

UltraNetworks

http://www.ultranetworks.co.uk/

Fixed Wireless

Wifi Scotland

http://www.wifiscotland.co.uk/

Fixed Wireless

Wispra

http://www.destek.co.uk/wispra/

Fixed Wireless / Satellite

  • Select the product that best meets your requirements and the cost of monthly subscriptions you are willing to pay
  • Approach your chosen basic broadband retail service provider to order the service you require, and provide them with your unique code. The satellite broadband retail service provider will confirm the features of the product you have chosen, and the costs involved in a minimum 12 months service contract, after the code has been taken into account.

The code can only be used with satellite broadband retail service providers operating under the scheme. Other satellite broadband retail service providers may join the scheme after launch, and you will be advised of the list of satellite broadband retail service providers currently operating under the scheme at the time that you are issued with your unique code.

Other providers

Other basic broadband retail service providers not operating under the scheme may also offer services in your area.

You may choose to use an alternative basic broadband retail service provider, but you will not be able to use the code issued under the scheme with that provider. You will have to meet the full cost yourself.

Who operates the scheme

The Scottish Government (DSSB Programme) is administering this national scheme in Scotland, using a nationally-set process and eligibility criteria.

DCMS have overall responsibility for implementing the Government's policy on the 2Mbps Universal Service Commitment, working with BT to operate the national Next Generation Access Broadband scheme, and with local bodies to ensure that the scheme is implemented consistently across the UK.