Reliable access to the internet is an important part of everyday life at home and at work. If you currently experience poor broadband speeds, or are unable to obtain an affordable broadband service at all, the following schemes will provide you with access to a basic broadband service that will offer speeds of at least 2 Mb per second.

 

Better Broadband Scheme

The Better Broadband Subsidy Scheme has been developed by the UK government.

It sets out to provide access to a subsidised broadband installation to homes and businesses that are unable to access a broadband service with a download speed of at least 2 Mb per second and will not benefit from the current phase of the Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband roll out.

You can check your broadband download speed over the BT Openreach network using the ADSL checker at www.dslchecker.bt.com. Broadband services may also be available from Virgin Media or other providers.

You can check whether superfast broadband is available at your address using the Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband checker at https://www.scotlandsuperfast.com/where-when

If you take advantage of the Better Broadband Subsidy Scheme your household or business will still be eligible for a fibre broadband service in the future when the Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband programme deploys in your area.

Applications to the Better Broadband Subsidy Scheme can be made until the end of December 2017.

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 6 to 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). 

Additionally, community-owned broadband networks who are a recognised supplier may also be able to offer services through the scheme. Contact Community Broadband Scotland to find out if such a network operates in your area.

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 28 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 Superfast@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
Avonline Broadband www.avonlinebroadband.com Satellite
Bentley Walker www.bentley-walker.com Satellite
Broadband Wherever www.broadbandwherever.net Satellite
Broadway Partners (Isle of Arran) www.broadwaypartners.co.uk Fixed Wireless
BT Community Partnerships www.communityfibre.bt.com FTTH
Digiweb www.digiweb.com/satellite/ Satellite
Europasat www.europasat.com Satellite
Ibub www.ibub.co.uk/satellitescheme Satellite
Lincolnshire Satellite Broadband www.lincolnshiresatellite.com Satellite
Lothian Broadband (East Lothian) www.lothianbroadband.com Fixed Wireless
NotSpot Broadband www.notspotbroadband.com Satellite
Prime Satellite Broadband www.primesatellitebroadband.com Satellite
SAS UK www.sasukinstallations.co.uk Satellite
Satellite Internet www.satelliteinternet.co.uk 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.