We are working with and supporting several national schemes to ensure that everyone in the Falkirk area has access to the broadband infrastructure they need.
If you want to check your current internet speeds you can use an internet speed checker, such as the broadband speed test provided by Which.
Universal Service Obligation
In 2020 the UK Government announced a Universal Service Obligation (USO) for households and businesses that have a download connection speed of lower than 10 megabits per second (Mbps). If this applies to your property, BT must deliver a solution up to a total cost of £3,400. Possible solutions include a traditional fixed link, or 4G mobile connectivity.
If the cost of providing a faster connection exceeds £3,400, the household or business may have to meet the excess. However there are other options that may be able to help you cover part of the additional costs.
Find out more about your right to request a decent broadband service | Ofcom.
Reaching 100% - superfast broadband for all
An internet speed of 30Mbps or above is considered to be 'superfast broadband'.
We are working with the Scottish Government to deliver the Reaching 100% (R100) programme, providing a 30Mbps connection to every premises in Scotland.
You can check if your postcode is included within the R100 plan.
Scottish Broadband Voucher Scheme (SBVS)
This scheme offers vouchers of up to £5,000 to help premises access superfast broadband. There are 2 categories of voucher:
Under both schemes neighbours can combine their vouchers. You can find out if your property is eligible and apply for a voucher on the R100 programme's website.
Interim Voucher Scheme
For any premises that does not receive 30Mbps internet access before the end of March 2022, a £400 voucher is available to implement a temporary solution to provide superfast broadband access. Approximately 1,500 premises in Falkirk are eligible to receive this voucher.
This voucher must be used by 31 March 2022.
Main Voucher Scheme
There are approximately 1,500 properties in the Falkirk area that will not be reached through the R100 programme. These premises can claim a £5,000 voucher to assist with purchasing a permanent solution to access superfast broadband.
UK Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme
This voucher scheme can be used in conjunction with the SBVS vouchers. They can be accessed by households and businesses in rural areas of the UK with slow broadband speeds. Under this scheme you can receive a voucher up to £1,500 per household, and £3,500 per small or medium sized business, to purchase a broadband solution. The Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme website contains more information on eligibility.
The Community Fibre Partnerships
If an upgrade isn't planned then Openreach can work with the community to build a customised solution to bring fibre broadband to the community. They will provide some of the costs, with the community providing the rest.
This scheme can also be used to upgrade to faster speeds in a community that already has fibre broadband. We are here to support and signpost communities to available grants and assistance. Please email email@example.com for more information.
The Openreach website has more information on how to register your interest in ultrafast fibre broadband.
We have compiled a list of frequently asked questions, so please check this first to see if your query has already been answered.
If you need any further assistance you can contact the Digital Communities Programme Coordinator:
Frequently Asked Questions
Is my property due to receive better broadband as part of the R100 Programme?
Check your address on Digital Scotland website to find out if your property is due to receive full fibre installation, and a date to expect this.
According to R100, I will be getting full-fibre, but not for years. Can I speed up this deadline?
If you are on the R100 programme roll-out and are due to receive full-fibre installation in the coming years, you are not able to speed up this installation, as the R100 contracts have been agreed on a national level with the successful contractors. However, you are eligible to use a £400 voucher to obtain an interim superfast broadband connection now. This could be Fixed Wireless, Satellite or Mobile Broadband offering you superfast speeds until full-fibre is installed to your property. This voucher must be used by 31 March 2022.
Who is delivering the installation of full-fibre to my property, and is there a process for complaints?
BT has been awarded the contract for delivering the R100 installations across Scotland. BT's supply-chain partner Openreach will be the frontline installers of the infrastructure. If you have any concerns or comments that need to be escalated, we recommend you utilise the enquiries section of the R100 website.
The Scotland Superfast website address checker states I already have access to superfast broadband speeds, but I am still unhappy with my broadband speeds.
Use a broadband speed checker. This will show you what speeds you are currently getting at your property. Please note that speeds are affected by the number of devices connected to your internet, and what it is being used for at the time. Try to check your speeds at a quiet time when there are no other devices connected.
If at this point you are still not able to receive speeds of 30Mbps or more, contact your current Internet Service Provider, who can check more detail at your connection, and may be able to increase your speeds. If however, your Internet Service Provider informs you that you are not able to access Superfast speeds, then you can submit an enquiry to R100 to be added into the programme, to obtain a voucher .
If you do have access to speeds of 30Mbps or greater, then you are not eligible to utilise the Scottish Broadband Voucher Schemes as part of the R100 Programme. However, you may be eligible to receive a voucher from UK Government as part of the Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme, helping rural properties obtain gigabit level speeds (>1000Mbps).
How much will I be paying for internet with Superfast speeds, and can the vouchers be used towards monthly subscription costs for broadband?
The Scottish Broadband Voucher Schemes can only be used for the installation of equipment for a broadband solution (ie the router, cabling, any external equipment, and installation costs). For this reason, it cannot be used towards monthly subscriptions.
As part of the Voucher Schemes, you will be required to agree to a minimum 12 month contract with the supplier installing your internet solution. The R100 programme follows UK Government's Universal Service Obligation, and any broadband solution delivering 30Mbps will not exceed £46.10 per month.
As with any utilities, it is recommended that you opt for a broadband package that will suit your needs, therefore it is important that you research all options available to you.
Will the voucher cover all the costs?
Vouchers serve as subsidies towards installation and equipment costs. Installation of Fixed Wireless, Mobile Broadband and Satellite solutions should all be covered by the available vouchers. Full-fibre installations are generally more expensive and costs may not be fully covered by the voucher. In this instance, there are a couple of options available:
- Your property may also be eligible for the UK Government's Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme. This could provide an additional £1,500 for residential premises and £3,500 for business premises.
- If your property receives internet download speeds of less than 10Mbps, you may also be eligible for the £3,400 subsidy from Ofcom, as part of the Universal Service Obligation.
- If you are in close proximity to other premises eligible for the vouchers available, these vouchers can be aggregated, or combined, to increase the spending power to install broadband solutions.
Will R100 rollout plans / dates change? My property will not be reached with Full-Fibre, can my property be added into the rollout?
The R100 roll-out contracts are unlikely to change, as the contracts have already been agreed and signed by the Scottish Government, and the successful contractor (BT/Openreach). Therefore, properties will not be added in to the R100 full-fibre installation build outs. Any new properties (new builds or change of use) that were not included in the initial R100 surveys, will be made eligible for the Main Voucher Scheme where appropriate. This can be requested through the R100 enquiry form.
If your property is eligible for the Main Voucher Scheme, but there are properties around you which are included in full-fibre installation plans, then your property may be connected along with your neighbours during the installation phase. This is not guaranteed however and is at the discretion of the successful contractor (BT / Openreach).
At present, the planned dates of installation are not due to change. As the R100 installations progress, dates will become more specific as locations are surveyed, and implementation plans are submitted for each area. Please see the Scotland Superfast website for any updates.
What are the types of Broadband available in the Falkirk area?
Full fibre broadband
Fibre optic cables underground direct from the exchange straight to your door
Capable of delivering gigabit broadband speeds
Low latency so there is no delay in the connection
Fixed wireless broadband
Uses radio waves rather than cables
Capable of gigabit broadband speeds
May need a relay aerial setting up closer to your property dependant on the location of the nearest mast – a direct line of sight is required to the property
Relatively quick and easy to install
Uses current mobile (4G / 5G) coverage via existing mobile masts
Quick to set up and install
Can be used anywhere with a mobile signal
Low-cost subscription rates
Reliant on mobile coverage
High speed internet connection using a signal transmitted from space which is then picked up by a satellite on the property
Available everywhere and not affected by landscape or location
May suffer connection delays due to distance of the signal to the property from the satellite
Higher subscription rates
What is Digital Exclusion?
Broadly defined, digital exclusion is where a section of the population have continuing unequal access and capacity to use Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) that are essential to fully participate in society. Essentially, it's about people being able to use digital technologies, particularly the internet, in ways that enhance their lives and contribute to helping them overcome other disadvantages which they might face.
Progress has been made to tackle digital exclusion in Falkirk, but we want to go further and achieve world-leading levels of digital inclusion. This depends, not only on the quality of the local digital infrastructure, but on the ability of people to be able to afford data allowances and devices, and to acquire the skills and confidence to take advantage of the benefits and opportunities of being digitally connected.
What if I can’t afford internet access?
Different deals are available from different broadband providers.
They are usually available to customers who receive certain government benefits - such as universal credit, pension credit, income support, jobseekers' allowance or employment and support allowance.
Regulator Ofcom has a list of providers, how much their tariffs cost, their broadband speeds and who is eligible - you can have a look Cheaper broadband and phone packages - Ofcom.
Ofcom also says that as well as these tariffs, other support might be available to customers who might not be able to get online because they struggle to afford internet services.
It says if you're struggling to pay your mobile phone or broadband bill, you should speak to your provider as soon as possible to see how they can help.