Fund to access improved Broadband services announced

The Government’s Broadband Upgrade Fund

 

To ensure the hardest-to-reach areas of the country are not left behind and can access improved broadband services, the government has introduced the Broadband Upgrade Fund, a pilot campaign for homes and businesses, as part of the national Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme. The aim is to help capture public interest in faster, more reliable broadband in each of the pilot areas. This will encourage suppliers to extend their broadband networks to meet demand and the government will help to fund the cost of the work. The Broadband Upgrade Fund website https://broadband-upgrade-fund.campaign.gov.uk/ captures registrations of interest from residents and business owners for government funding towards the cost of installing gigabit-capable broadband to their property. The demand in an area will be shown with pins on a map. At the same time the website map will show suppliers which communities are keen on this faster, more reliable service, making it more attractive for them to build to your area, years ahead of the market.

 

This pilot campaign is running in designated areas and rural premises in Northumberland, with broadband speeds of less than 100 megabits per second (Mbps), are eligible.

 

However, if you are ineligible for this particular fund, this does not necessarily mean that you cannot upgrade your broadband with the help of the government, see http://buildingdigital.campaign.gov.uk

 

The Broadband Upgrade Fund Process: 1. An individual person or individual business needs to go to https://broadband-upgrade-fund.campaign.gov.uk/ and register their demand for faster broadband (with the option to become the Community Co-ordinator for its community: A Community Co-ordinator from the group will be required to act as a voluntary intermediary between any suppliers who might wish to build better broadband to your area and your community)

 

2. Tell your neighbours and friends about the fund and watch the registrations of interest for faster, more reliable broadband in your area grow

3. Broadband suppliers will tell us if they are interested in building in your area based on the level of interest and we will put them in touch

4. Your community can compare options and costs and you can ask your local council for help but your community makes the final decision

5. Your chosen supplier will manage the application for voucher funding and you will receive an email from us to check that you agree

6. Your supplier gets to work to deliver your new connection

7. Connected! Your supplier lets us know the work is done

8. We check with you by email that the service is live and working

9. We sometimes make some further checks before we pay

 

The Community Co-ordinator from the group will be required to act as a voluntary intermediary between any suppliers who might wish to build better broadband to your area and your community. It might involve attending some meetings or getting a small group together in your community to support the project. You could also ask for support from someone from your local council.

 

For example, Gavin Keeble from Grisedale in Cumbria helped as a local co-ordinator when his community got together to improve their broadband across their remote dale to over 300 properties. He was part of a larger organising group who helped to co-ordinate communication with neighbours and different landowners to make a really positive impact in his community. You can read about the big difference it has made in his home and working life here.

 

Funding is only available when used in group projects and groups can be a mix of residents and businesses; just residents or just businesses. Each resident can have funding worth up to £1,500 and each small and medium-sized business (SME) can have funding worth up to £3,500. The funding goes towards supporting the cost of installing brand new gigabit-capable connections.

 

The supplier will apply for funding on your behalf and this will go straight to the supplier, not you. The value of the funding will then contribute to the build costs of installing a full fibre connection at your property. In most cases, the funding provided will pay for the cost of installing the new broadband provided you have enough properties in your group project. That is why it is important to encourage as many of your neighbours as possible to sign up and increase the size of your fund.

 

Sometimes the community may be asked to make a contribution to the overall cost if the funding does not cover it but you do not have to proceed further if you think that it is too much money.

 

What the customer will pay is dependent upon the broadband package that they have currently, the supplier that they use and whether their contract is part of a ‘bundle’ deal. Some people find they are paying a bit more each month for much faster broadband and some people find they are paying less.

 

Interests must be registered by 30 September 2020. After that, if a supplier is interested in building better broadband to your area, the whole process from contract to connection could take up to a year but it could be less. This depends on a whole range of reasons from how near you are to the nearest town; your current broadband infrastructure; the supplier you use and even the weather.

 

There could be some disruption along roads but in rural areas, telephone cables tend to be overhead. When you are connected to gigabit-capable broadband an engineer will need access to your property to install a new junction box and to bring the new cable to you. They will contact you to arrange a day and time that is convenient.

 

Registering your interest as a resident and/or a business Sign up by entering your details on the home page, https://broadband-upgrade-fund.campaign.gov.uk/ Once you have done so you will be able to see if others in your area have also registered interest to upgrade their home or business broadband on a pin map. As a resident you are entitled to £1,500 towards the upgrade. As an SME you are entitled to £3,500 towards the upgrade. Once enough people in your area sign up, you will be asked to choose a broadband supplier and then it is over to them.

 

The application for the Broadband Upgrade Fund is managed by the broadband supplier that your community chooses. This means, once you have registered your interest, and a supplier has agreed to build a new service to your area, they will request the funding on your behalf. The voucher funding will go straight to the supplier, not to you. The value of the funding will then contribute to the build costs of installing a full fibre

Town Council to reopen Alnwick play areas

Alnwick Town Council will be reopening its play areas during the week beginning Monday July 13th.

 

They would like to thank everyone for adhering to government advice and respecting the closures that had to be put in place and for their patience whilst the Council undertook essential works to make play areas as safe as possible and installed hand sanitiser stations and new signage at all play areas.

 

The government guidance being followed is complex and involves risk assessments of all play areas so that users are protected as much as possible. The Council has nine play area facilities and each one brings slightly different challenges in ensuring they can re-open safely: The safety of users is paramount.

 

Residents may want to check with the Town Council first that a play area is open by calling 01665 602574 or checking for updates on this website.

It is important that users follow Council guidance on the new on-site notices and use the areas responsibly, so everyone can enjoy them. Users need to keep a distance from other users and parents should take responsibility for their children and ensure they play apart from others, are respectful of queues for play equipment and play considerately by not hogging equipment that others are waiting for.

 

Food will not be allowed in or around the play areas and all users, including children, will need to remember to wash their hands or use hand sanitiser before and after using the equipment; Alnwick Town Council is installing sanitisers at all its play areas and at the Bike Track but it would be a great idea for parents and guardians to bring a small bottle of hand sanitiser with them to the play areas.

 

However, anyone with any symptoms should be following government guidelines and remain at home.

 

Notices are installed at all play areas to remind people to maintain social distancing. Advisory maximum number of users per enclosed playground are specified.

 

Litter bins are provided in the play areas where tissues, etc. can be disposed of safely. Notices at each play area will remind people to dispose of rubbish sensibly.

 

 

The Council particularly asks that users stick to the following guidelines:

• There will be a maximum number of users in one play area at any one time; please check the play area signage

• Please retain 1m distance from other users e.g. pushing swings

• To enable as many children as possible to use the equipment please limit use to 30 minutes

• Use of hand sanitiser gel or wipes is strongly advised when using the equipment

• Consumption of food and drink within play areas is not permitted

• Please use bins provided or take litter home

 

For further information contact Alnwick Town Council on 01665 602574 or by email at Peter.Hately@alnwick-tc.gov

Town Council working to safely reopen Alnwick’s Bike Track and play areas

Following recent government guidance, Alnwick Town Council is working to ensure the safe reopening of the town’s play areas and the Bike Track.

 

The news that the Council will be allowed to start reopening play areas from July 4th is greatly welcomed but residents need to be patient a little longer as the Council works hard to risk assess all play areas and to undertake the appropriate works required to make areas as safe as possible for all, it’s not simply a case of taking down “closed” signs.

 

The government guidance being followed is complex and involves risk assessments of all play areas so that users are protected as much as possible. The Council has nine play area facilities and each one brings slightly different challenges in ensuring they can re-open safely so it is not a straightforward or quick thing to do.

 

Due to the scale of the task and the time needed to carry out thorough risk assessments we may need to reopen facilities on a phased basis. You may want to check with the Town Council first that a play area or the bike track is open by calling 01665 602574 or checking on this website.

 

Many children across the town have greatly missed using our play areas and the bike track. The Town Council would like to thank everyone for adhering to government advice and for respecting the closures that have had to be put in place.

 

However, anyone with any symptoms should be following government guidelines and remain at home.

We are working to ensure users of the play areas will be as safe as possible against the risk of the coronavirus by adhering to all the necessary prevention and protection measures. It is important that users follow our guidance and use the areas responsibly, so everyone can enjoy them.  Users need to keep a distance from other users and parents should take responsibility for their children and ensure they play apart from others, are respectful of queues for play equipment and play considerately by not hogging equipment that others are waiting for.

 

Food will not be allowed in or around the play areas and all users, including children, will need to remember to wash their hands or use hand sanitiser after using the equipment; it would be helpful if parents and guardians bring a small bottle of hand sanitiser with them to the play areas.

 

GOV.UK regulations prohibit the gathering of more than 6 people in an area: Notices will be put on all play areas to remind people to maintain social distancing. Advisory maximum number of users per enclosed playground will be specified.

 

Litter bins are provided in the play areas where tissues, etc. can be disposed of safely. Notices at each play area will remind people to dispose of rubbish sensibly.

 

The Council particularly asks that users following the guidelines below:

•       Users must be under 14 years only

•       There will be a maximum number of users in one play area at any one time; please check the play area signage

•       A maximum of 1 family member can accompany 1 child

•       Please retain 1m distance from other users e.g. pushing swings

•       To enable as many children as possible to use the equipment please limit use to 20 minutes

•       Use of hand sanitiser gel or wipes is advised when using the equipment

•       When using equipment do not touch your face

•       Consumption of food and drink within play areas is not permitted

•       Please use bins provided or take litter home

 

For further information contact Alnwick Town Council on 01665 602574 or by email at Peter.Hately@alnwick-tc.gov.uk

 

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