A new voucher scheme to help rural communities benefit from up to £2,500 for faster broadband has been launched in Kent.
Kent County Council has made up to £2.8 million of additional funding available to ‘top-up’ the Rural Gigabit Voucher Scheme in partnership with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).
It means homeowners, who apply as part of a group of two or more, can get broadband connection vouchers worth up to £2,500 instead of the standard £1,500 available elsewhere in the country.
KCC cabinet member for economic development Mark Dance said: “I’m delighted to announce this investment that will help thousands of rural homes and businesses get better broadband connections in Kent.
“I believe this will make a real difference and encourage as many of our rural residents as possible to take up these opportunities to get the connectivity they need.
“Although over 95% homes and businesses in the county can now access a superfast broadband service, we are committed to working with the government to help those that still cannot get better broadband.
“We believe that our top-up voucher scheme will make a vital contribution and help connect areas that commercial companies have found too difficult or expensive to connect.”
The Making Kent Quicker Project, funded by Kent County Council and DCMS has already delivered superfast broadband to more than 138,000 homes and businesses that would otherwise have been left with no or slow connections because of where they live.
Kent County Council and DCMS are also investing a further £4.5 million which will see an additional 5,000 rural homes and businesses with no or slow broadband receive fibre-to-the-premise broadband connections from Openreach Ltd.
Furthermore, in 2020 the government will be introducing a Universal Service Obligation that will make fast broadband a legal right for every home and business in Kent.
Minister for Digital and Broadband Matt Warman said: “The Government is investing over £650 million on full fibre broadband and we’re prioritising rural areas to make sure they get a gigabit-capable connection first.
“I very much welcome further investment from Kent County Council that matches our ambitions and helps local businesses and homes take advantage of this connectivity.”
For more information visit www.kent.gov.uk/broadband