Superfast Broadband (and vouchers)

27 Feb 2017

A decent broadband connection is essential for access to great TV, music, free international calls with friends and family, running an online business or two, and several other benefits the web can bring us. So how can we access decent rural broadband in Roughlee?

Lancashire Superfast Broadband rollout

Lancashire Superfast Broadband, a £40m+ project led by Lancashire County Council, is responsible for the rollout of Superfast Fibre Broadband around Roughlee. Exact addresses which will benefit from the service will not be known until the work is complete, and completion was originally scheduled for December 2016. Unfortunately delays in obtaining a Wayleave have meant that they have rescheduled the programme for completing the work. Although no formal date has been received to requests by the parish council, Geoff Hook, whose home-based business relies on broadband, has been in touch with the CEO of Openreach with the result that the service is now promised for July / August 2017.

Access to basic digital infrastructure is clearly an urgent priority for the village, so the Parish Council is trying to get a commitment from Lancashire Superfast Broadband for it to complete the work as soon as possible. We’ll keep you updated as and when any new details become available.

Other Options for Superfast Rural Broadband

Whilst we’re waiting for the fibre optic rollout to be completed in Roughlee, here’s an overview of what high speed broadband is currently available in the village as well as the government subsidies available to help cover their cost.

Witchcraft Broadband

Witchcraft Broadband is a project aimed at providing low-cost high speed broadband connectivity to rural communities in the North West of England. They are aiming to have an initial roll-out to cover homes in the Roughlee area. It is based on a similar model to the one currently active in Barley, where a high speed microwave connection is shared by villagers.

Plans are at an early stage, so we’ll keep you updated on progress. However, for this initiative to go ahead, the service needs a minimum number of subscribers from the village (approximately 35 in total). To see latest updates on their progress, please visit their Facebook page, Witchcraft Broadband. You can also find out further information and express your interest using this form.

Government Subsidy

BDUK vouchers are a government subsidy available for any household that can’t access a minimum of 2Mbps download speed. A typical household needs an minimum of around 5-6Mbps for Netflix, Skype etc, so it’s worth checking what you’re currently receiving using online tools like broadbandspeedchecker.co.uk. Although we were originally ineligible, the delays in rolling out fibre optic to Roughlee mean that many villagers should now be eligible for BDUK vouchers – although this of course is subject to your specific address.

With fibre optic not yet available, the remaining options are receiving broadband through either satellite or microwave. BDUK vouchers ensure that broadband can be purchased for a first-year cost of no more than £400 (taking account of any up front costs and the 12 month service charges). The subsidy can also be used to access higher cost packages with higher speeds or greater monthly data caps. You can read more about the BDUK scheme here and you can apply for a voucher here.

Current Superfast Broadband Providers

The suppliers currently available under this scheme with coverage in Roughlee are listed below: