Hampshire County Council is investing £1 million to step up its drive to get high-speed broadband out to the most rural parts of the county.

The funding will ‘top-up’ the Government’s existing Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme, to help people in hard-to-reach locations get a fast, reliable broadband service

The County Council’s Executive Member for Commercial Strategy, Human Resources and Performance, Councillor Stephen Reid, said: “96% of Hampshire can now access superfast broadband with speeds of 24Mbps (Megabits per second) or more.

This is a fantastic achievement, but we want to extend access further. To that end we’re adding £1 million towards the Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme to target so-called “broadband not-spots” in the county.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has shown how important it is to have access to reliable, fast broadband, as being digitally connected is key to staying in touch with loved ones, working from home, and helping to stabilise local businesses.

This initiative is designed to get high-speed broadband to areas that commercial providers simply won’t go to because of the costs involved.”

Digital Infrastructure Minister, Matt Warman, said: ”Better broadband enhances lives, and it’s great to see Hampshire investing alongside government to make that a rapid reality.

As part of our plans to level up communities across the UK, we’re prioritising bringing the economic and social benefits of gigabit-capable broadband to rural areas.

Even more help is now at hand for rural parts of Hampshire currently suffering with slow speeds. I encourage people and businesses in these areas to check if they’re eligible for a voucher to boost their broadband with these next-generation speeds.”

While superfast broadband is available to more than 96% of premises in Hampshire, those living in remote locations have often missed out as they are more difficult – and consequently more expensive – to reach.

The Hampshire Top-Up to the Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme has been designed to address this issue by offering additional funding towards the cost of installing gigabit-capable broadband.

It will enable eligible residents to get vouchers worth up to £3,000 per property – double that of the standard voucher.

Gigabit-capable broadband (also known as ultrafast broadband) has speeds of up to 1,000Mbps or 1Gbps.

It means residents will be getting the latest technology, delivered straight to their homes.

They will then be able to choose an internet package from a provider to suit their needs and budget.

To qualify for the scheme, residents must live in a rural area, be unable to get broadband speeds of 100Mbps or more and apply as a group of two or more premises.

The Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme with Hampshire Top-Up will be allocated on a ‘first-come, first served’ basis. To find out more, go to https://www.hampshiresuperfastbroadband.com/top-up/