Volunteers in Sedbergh making a final push for sign ups

Urgent sign ups are needed for B4RN projects in Cumbria and Northumberland after a government decision on gigabit voucher funding.

DCMS (the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport) has announced it’ll be closing the UK Gigabit Voucher scheme (UKGV, previously RGC or GBVS) in those regions on 24th September.

It’s now vital that our volunteer-led B4RN projects in Cumbria and Northumberland get as much sign up as possible.

Sign up at Get B4RN.

Gigabit vouchers are a significant pot of funding (worth £210million) and there’s still time to access it if enough people sign up for B4RN in these areas.

A single-sided document summarising what these changes mean in Cumbria and Northumberland can be found here.

B4RN’s Community Engagement and Training Manager, Jorj Haston, said: “We are in the hands of DCMS. Keep calm and sign up for B4RN!

“We understand this is a big ask for our volunteers but they are all taking to the challenge.”

What happens after 24th September? B4RN’s Head of Community Engagement and Development, Tom Hurst, explains: “DCMS will be closing the voucher scheme for new voucher registrations across Cumbria and Northumberland on the 24th September 2021. All newly issued vouchers will  have a 12 month lifespan and the property must be connected within this timeframe.

“The voucher scheme will then remain closed to new applications while DCMS arrange contracts with a regional supplier to deliver broadband across the two counties. Those areas which are not included in the regional supply contract may be made available again to the voucher scheme after the procurement period, however this is expected to take 12 – 18 months.

“So in order to prevent indefinite delay to your B4RN project, you must act now to maximise sign up in your area. There is no guarantee that your area will be included in the governments regional plans, and experience shows that rural areas normally miss out, so if your community wants B4RN, then they need to sign up now!”

*

We’re fighting to ease the changes to the rules surrounding voucher funding under Project Gigabit, join the Battle for B4RN in Cumbria and Northumberland!