Digital Household Grant
Gloucestershire County Council is committed to providing options for residents experiencing poor broadband connectivity.
The Gloucestershire Digital Household Grant covers the installation costs of a 4G antenna, router, and setup costs to enable use of the hardware.
The grant will be introduced in phases. The first phase will be open to properties with a broadband capacity below 30Mbps in the rural northern part of the Forest of Dean.
Each qualifying property will receive a letter from the Gloucestershire County Council explaining the scheme and what the household needs to do to apply.
It is the intention to for this scheme to be extended to those properties across Gloucestershire with a broadband capacity below 30Mbps in late 2023/early 2024.
What does the grant fund?
The grant covers the installation of 4G connection using an external antenna fitted to the outside of the property.
The equipment and installation cost of a 4G solution will be funded by the grant, but the ongoing monthly subscription or service charges will be covered by the applicant (as with any of the Fastershire programme).
The grant cannot retrospectively fund equipment for what you have decided to install yourself, and we will fund the supplier directly for the 4G solution once the below steps are complete.
How does the grant work?
The grant will be paid direct to the County Council’s suppliers so there is no need for households to spend any money and then claim it back.
Households will be responsible for paying the monthly subscription changes associated with accessing the 4G service.
The grant is only open to properties that experience broadband download speeds less than 30 megabits per second (Mbps).
The 4G solution provided through the grant should be considered as an interim measure until such time as the UK Government’s Project Gigabit programme or commercial investment delivers a Full Fibre solution.
By 2030 the UK Government is aiming at most properties across England having access to gigabit capable broadband (download speeds up to 1,000 Mbps and greater). This £5 billion investment will be delivered through the UK Government Project Gigabit run by BDUK.
How to apply?
Step 1: Apply for the Digital Household Grant by completing the online form below. A paper copy of the application is available if required – Tel: (01452) 425000
Step 2: A confirmation email will be sent to show if you qualify. If you do not receive an email within 24hours from firstname.lastname@example.org, please check your junk mail folder.
Step 3: The scheme’s installation supplier will contact you to arrange a date and time for site survey and 4G signal test.
Step 4: The installation supplier will contact you explaining which 4G options are available.
Step 5: You can source a 4G sim card from whoever you choose, either directly from the 4G network that offers your property the best coverage or from a reseller.
Step 6: The installation supplier will arrange a date and time for your installation.
Step 7: When installed by the supplier, you sign an acceptance certificate to confirm the solution has been installed and the County Council will release payment to the supplier.
Register for the Digital Household Grant
Please read the frequently asked questions and additional information, shown below, before completing this form.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is 4G?
4G is a wireless solution delivered by mobile network masts and if you’re struggling with your existing copper broadband connection then a 4G connection using an external antenna may be a viable alternative until a fixed line fibre solution is available.
Fixed line broadband connections typically offer higher speeds and more stable connectivity compared to 4G, especially during times of peak use. However, 4G offers the advantage of mobility, allowing access the internet from anywhere with network coverage and can be a viable alternative for properties with limited access to fixed line broadband.
How fast is 4G?
The speeds achieved will differ from property to property, the average UK download speed is 21Mbps, which is faster than many standard copper broadband connections and should be sufficient to deal with most household requirements such as streaming.
In some locations properties may be able to access higher download speed up to 150Mbps and the pre-installation site survey will provide an indicative view of the type of download speeds available at the property.
4G is reliant on masts to transmit the signal and can be affected by interference and mast outages or maintenance work. 4G is also a contended connection, meaning that performance will fluctuate over time as more people are using it at the same time.
How does it work?
The grant will cover the installation of a 4G connection using an external antenna fitted to the outside of the property.
A 4G connection using an external antenna should perform better than the 4G signal achieved on your smartphone or via a plug-in 4G dongle.
The location of the external antenna on your property will be determined by the location that offers the best signal strength. In some cases, only one location may be viable. That location may not be your preference, either for aesthetic reasons or because of where the connection enters your property but unfortunately, signal strength dictates the antenna location. Each household will be able to discuss what options they have regarding the location of the antenna before any commitment is made to install the antenna. If the proposed location for the antenna is not suitable from the householder perspective, then the installation can be declined.
It’s worth noting that survey speeds are only indicative and while 4G broadband can offer good download speeds, the actual speeds that you experience may be lower, for example, during times of network congestion, using wifi (compared to connecting directly to the router via Ethernet cable) or in areas with poor signal strength.
Additionally, some providers may offer different speed tiers or data limits for their 4G broadband plans, so it’s important to check the specific details of the plan before making any commitments.
Overall, 4G offers a convenient and flexible way to access the internet wirelessly, making it a viable solution if you have limited fixed line broadband access.
- A 4G solution is unlikely to solve all connectivity issues but it should provide an improved experience until such time as Project Gigabit is delivered.
- The grant only covers the installation hardware to enable a 4G connection using an external antenna fitted to the outside of the property.
- 4G is an interim solution and the download/upload speeds shown at the survey are only indicative and only at the router. Performance will fluctuate over time and may be impacted my network issues.
- If you require any additional equipment to extend the signal indoors e.g. Mesh WiFi, this is not part of the grant and you would need to arrange this separately.
- The location of the equipment will be determined by the location that offers the best signal strength and, in some cases, only one location may be viable. If the proposed location for the antenna is not suitable from the householder perspective, then the installation can be declined.
- Ongoing service costs are not covered by the grant.
- Households can order a SIM card from any provider and a data package that best suits their needs. There is no obligation to use the installation supplier for the Digital Household Grant for a service.
- Households can source their own sim directly from the network provider that offers the best signal to the property or any reseller supplier.
- Gloucestershire County Council or Fastershire will have no responsibility for, or be a party to, any contract or agreement you enter with a service provider.
For information about how your information is used, please read the Digital Household Grant Privacy Notice, click here.