If your property is near to other homes and businesses that need faster broadband speeds, you could come together and find a community solution.
Where to start
The first step to setting up a community broadband project is to talk to your neighbours. Form a local group to understand what you, as a community, need. Work out the area you need to address both in size and number of properties. Part of this may involve generating interest with those in your area and keeping them up to date as the project moves on. Identify key people in the community to lead your project as well as volunteers that can help you along the way.
Check current broadband services
Once you have a list of properties, check what broadband services are already available to them. Infrastructure may have previously been built in the area which may help you decide which technology option to choose for your project. Also check if there are any plans to roll-out fibre broadband to your area in the future. Find out more on our What are my options? page.
Many properties use a fibre based broadband connection but there are plenty of other ways to connect to broadband. Our alternative broadband technologies page can tell you more about some of the options available.
Agreeing an approach
There are several different approaches available for communities looking to improve their broadband. These could include; running a project to fund a supplier to build in your area, building a community owned network run by a supplier or building a community owned and operated network. The UK Government has guidance available on community led models for improving broadband.
We have funding available to support the installation costs of new broadband connections.
- For communities with at least one business, the UK Government’s Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme helps fund even faster gigabit capable broadband solutions. Those applying for the scheme in Wales, when part of a group project, will automatically be eligible for additional top-up funding from the Welsh Government towards these costs.
- For communities looking to use an alternative broadband solution our Access Broadband Cymru scheme provides grants to fund the installation costs.
- There may be funding available from other organisations that could help your project so research all of the options available to you.
Help and advice
There are a number of organisations which can support you in setting up a community project.
- The UK Government has detailed guidance on setting up community led broadband schemes.
- The Wales Co-operative Centre work with communities to support them delivering projects that tackle exclusion and provide skills. They can offer free advice and support across a wide range of areas.
- Depending on the approach your community chooses to take, the Wales Council for Voluntary Action (WCVA) offers advice on the different types of structures that are available for voluntary groups.
- The Wales Rural Network supports rural communities and businesses. Their website includes a list of Local Action Groups which may be able to help you.
- Our Real Life Stories page has examples of communities which have used our voucher schemes to improve their broadband.