Community Fibre Groups

Full fibre can be prohibitively expensive to get on an individual basis, but forming a community group may mean that the cost can be minimised through access to special grant schemes.

What role can communities play in broadband delivery?

There are a number of different ways in which you can secure improved broadband provision to your home or business. Openreach will always provide a quote for bringing full fibre to your address but on an individual basis this is likely to be prohibitively expensive. You can also approach any of the broadband suppliers who operate in our area (listed here). 

Suppliers who offer a fixed wireless service (Airband, Bush Broadband, Voneus, Skylight and Wifix) may be most likely to provide affordable bespoke solutions on an individual basis.  However, if you live in a wooded or low lying area fixed wireless broadband may not be possible as you need line of sight to the transmitter mast.


Community fibre partnerships

If you form a group with others looking for improved broadband in the same geographic area you can secure funding via the Gigabit Voucher Scheme for a broadband supplier to deliver gigabit capable broadband directly to your homes and businesses.  Homes are eligible for up to £1,500 and businesses for £3,500 voucher funding. You will not be eligible for a voucher if a supplier already has a plan to bring fibre to your area. You can check your eligibility here.

The Openreach model for forming a community group to secure fibre broadband is called a Community Fibre Partnerships (CFP) and is most commonly known.  However, other suppliers such as Airband will now also offer community schemes through groups of people securing Gigabit Voucher funding.

Current community fibre partnerhsips

Bridestowe Fibre Community Partnership


Universal Service Scheme

If your broadband is not defined as decent (under 10Mbps download and 1Mbps upload) or affordable (defined as more than £46.40/month) you may be eligible for the Universal Service scheme.  This provides £3,400 per premise to improve broadband provision, and if multiple addresses are eligible and register in one area is may cover the full cost of provision.  For more information please visit the BT website


How does the Openreach Community Fibre Partnership work?

Below is a rough outline of the stages in forming a CFP with Openreach:

  1. You need to establish at least 10 interested addresses (homes or businesses) within a close geographic area who are eligible for vouchers, the larger the number of premises interested the more viable the project will become.
  2. Get the interested people to register on the Openreach website
  3. Openreach will model the cost to provide a full fibre network to the area (this may include addresses not originally identified if the fibre routes pass them)
  4. Openreach will discuss the route and cost with the community lead to adjust if needed
  5. Openreach will confirm final cost which is fixed
  6. Openreach will confirm the list of addresses to Building Digital UK (BDUK) who will in turn check eligibility and then email voucher requests to the addresses
  7. The people who have been sent a voucher request from BDUK have 28 days to complete the form and secure the voucher funding.
  8. When all vouchers are confirmed the CFP group will either need to have secured a 30% buffer above the final quoted price, or form a 'Single Entity' to contract with Openreach.
  9. Once the contract is signed Openreach are required to deliver the project within 12 months.
  10. When premises who secured a voucher are told the fibre is available, they are required to take out a 12-month contract with an approved Internet Service Provided. The fibre contract needs to provide a connection speed of double their previous speed, or at least 100 Mbps (whichever is lower).

How would a community-led scheme with another supplier work?

The process for setting up a community fibre group with any other supplier is likely to follow roughly the same process:

  1. Establish a group of homes and businesses within a close area interested in improving their broadband.  Check they are all eligible for vouchers
  2. Email the Community Broadband Team to establish which suppliers may be operating in your area.
  3. Register interest of the homes and businesses on the suppliers' webpage.
  4. The supplier will model the cost of providing fibre to the addresses which may involve some tweaking to ensure voucher funding would cover the cost.
  5. The supplier will submit a list of addresses to BDUK, who will in turn check eligibility and then email voucher requests to the addresses.
  6. The people who have been sent a voucher request from BDUK have 28 days to complete the form and secure the voucher funding.
  7. Once the vouchers have been secured the supplier is required to deliver the project within 12 months.
  8. When premises who secured a voucher are told the fibre is available they are required to take out a 12-month contract with an approved Internet Service Provided. The fibre contract needs to provide a connection speed of double their previous speed, or at least 100 Mbps (whichever is lower).