What Is A Voucher? Gigabit Broadband Vouchers Explained
First things first, there is no physical voucher, just wanted to make that clear…
A voucher scheme (also known as a Community Fibre Project) is a way for an entire community to benefit from a full fibre network. Each resident or business can use their voucher to pool their funding together to create a large enough fund to cover the cost of the fibre network installation.
When joining a Community Fibre Project, you will have heard the FACTCO team and read in our communications about a Gigabit Broadband Voucher. We thought we would break down what we will expect from you and explain what a voucher is.
What types of vouchers are there?
There are two vouchers available, residential, and business. The rural residential voucher provides up to £1500 and a business up to £3000. The individual vouchers are collected to cover the funding needed to build your network. Each voucher is added to the funding pot and is allocated to the work we do as a registered supplier who will initially fund, design, build, maintain and supply your new full fibre broadband network.
Each project will have a certain amount of voucher to enable to project to go ahead. We will understand this once we begin the application process and will inform the community of this target to make sure that we can all work together to make sure the network install can go ahead.
Funding sounds scary!
Yes, applying for anything like a grant or funding can make people hesitate about joining a network rollout. This is completely understandable. So, what are the risks for you? This is something that comes up a lot and the answer is, there is no risk or investment needed from you and your community. FACTCO as the Registered Supplier works as the “middleman,” working as the link between, the funding, the technical build and supplying you with your connection. All you need to do is pledge for a voucher.
What happened when you pledge for a voucher?
After you pledge for a voucher through a project page, when your project is been approved on the DCMS (Digital Culture Media & Sport) portal we are then able to send out vouchers to everyone who has completed the form. This is where you need to apply for a voucher (a Gigabit Broadband Voucher) …
There are 2 parts to a voucher application, you will Sign Up and then Sign Off a voucher…
Sign Up – means you are signing up to the funded network and would like to join FACTCO’s free installation as well as broadband service with FACTCO for a minimum of 12 months* once the installation is complete
*This is part of the funding process that every customer needs to also sign a 12-month contract with every voucher.
Sign Off – means that you are now connected to the FACTCO network and happy with the service you have received. This is all regulated by the funding body. Every network is audited to make sure that we are delivering to you what we have promised. Keeping you the priority and making sure you get the connectivity you need.
How does the funding and the voucher work?
We have videos and guides on how you can apply for a voucher once we send these out to you. You will receive a notification from DCMS (the governing body that has set up the scheme) about your voucher being ready to sign via email and SMS (Short Message Service) from their system. All of which is explained in further detail below in our video and written guides…
- How the Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme works with FACTCO
- How to sign up to your Gigabit Broadband Voucher with FACTCO
- How to sign off your Gigabit Broadband Voucher with FACTCO
- Step by step guide on how to apply for your voucher
- Step by step guide on how to complete your voucher
- How to apply as a Sole Trader
How do we get your information?
We get your information for a voucher once you pledge an interest* on your dedicated Community Fibre Project page. We do not share your information outside the funding process or with any third parties
*If you ever change your mind and no longer wish to get a fully funded network installation and an improved broadband connection, feel free to let the team know.
Can I apply as a business?
Yes, businesses can join a Community Fibre Project too and as you would expect it is a little bit more complicated when you are asked to Sign Up for your voucher. There are two options for a business voucher…
If you run a business from home, you can claim a business voucher for your property. As well as limited companies, business vouchers cover partnerships and sole traders. This could include dog walkers, mobile hairdressers, painter, and decorators. The business does not have to be a full-time occupation and you could also be eligible if your property is a holiday cottage.
Sole Trader – if you are self-employed, this means you will have to provide your UTR number. If you do not know what this is or where you can find it, best get that before you start your application.
Ltd Company or partnerships – you will need to provide us with a company registration number. If you do not know what that is. You should be able to quickly find this on Companies House on the public register.
What is the eligibility for a business?
These are listed on the DCMS website, but we have shared them with you below. This has been put in place to prevent larger corporate businesses to benefit from the funding and makes sure that the scheme supports those who are in greater need of the grants available.
To qualify for a business voucher, you will be asked to self-certify that you meet the European Commission definition of an SME whereby your business has:
- Up to 249 employees (in total in the organisation) and turnover no greater than €50m per annum, and/or
- A balance sheet of no more than €43m
- You will also have to self-certify that you have received less than €200k in public grants in the last 3 years – the de minimis limit.
- You will be asked to provide evidence of your status as an SME or sole trader.
If you need any further guidance on your voucher and what a voucher is. Please contact us directly and one of the FACTCO team members will be able to help you. You can do this by calling us on 0333 305 7560 or emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org