We're helping to provide 95% coverage across the UK by the end of 2017, but aspire to go further and are always searching for ways to reach the last 5%.
We're committed to working with all communities to find a fibre solution, and our community fibre partnership scheme is designed to enable this. Delivering fibre to the hardest to reach communities is a huge challenge. In rural areas we often face long distances and challenging terrain and in urban areas we have the complexity of working in busy streets with limited space. Our strong ambition is never to say 'no' and work together with local communities to agree a suitable and affordable option to bring fibre to an area and our dedicated team is focused on helping communities understand what we can do, as well as to support them to bring faster broadband to parts of the UK not covered by existing rollout plans.
As part of the Community Fibre Partnership scheme, BT has made £2m available via a grant for Community Fibre Partnerships that could benefit their local school. This enables communities in the final 5% of the UK not covered by fibre broadband rollout plans to apply for a grant of up to £20,000 toward the cost of their new fibre infrastructure, if that new infrastructure could also serve their local school. So, for example, if the cost for a gap-funded solution that serves a school has been quoted as £23,000, the community would pay £11,500 and £11,500 would be match-funded from the grant.
We've a dedicated team providing management and support.
If a community wants to work with us, we provide a single point of contact for the full journey and have established a crowdfunding partner - Spacehive.
If that's happening, you don't need to do anything, and your infrastructure will be enabled in due course. At that point you'll be able to order fibre broadband.
If your premises show as 'we are exploring solutions' we have no plan at the moment to fibre-enable your area, so a community fibre partnership may be a good option for your community.
Please use our simple form to let us know you’re interested in finding out more about a Community Fibre Partnership to get fibre broadband for your home, or business.
We'll then send you some information on how community fibre partnerships work, and ask you to let us know which premises in your community are interested. You may need to chat to some of your friends and neighbours to see if they are interested too, as the more premises in the same area that are interested, the more cost effective the solution is likely to be.
That person will be your main contact point all the way through the process.
We'll provide you with a ballpark cost for providing the fibre infrastructure in your area. The cost we quote will be the money you need to pay after BT has contributed to the solution. Typically the solution we cost will be to enable your local green cabinet for fibre or, if that's not possible, to build a new cabinet.
Sometimes we'll need to come up with a different solution, such as running fibre directly to the premises in your community
We can help you go about engaging the community and we also have information about partner companies who could help you with the mechanics of getting the money together via crowdfunding.
If your community agrees to proceed with a Community Fibre Partnership using our grant, you’ll need to raise your contribution to the cost of the fibre infrastructure via our crowdfunding partner, Spacehive. Successful grants will be made and pledged on Spacehive by BT at the time that the second part of the contracted payment is due.
In some cases, we may be able to help you with marketing and awareness raising within your community.
We'll start the modelling work to deliver you a more accurate cost and create a proposal that you can contract for.
We’ll send you that full proposal, outlining the proposed solution, and exactly which areas would be covered by fibre broadband. If you have applied for a grant and have been successful we’ll make sure that’s captured at this stage too.
The price we quote is firm, and won't change later.
Now it's time to get the community together to raise the funding for the solution.
You'll need to pay 50% upon contract signature, and the balance when the infrastructure is delivered.
Crowdfunding can help you to simplify the process of gathering funds, and we have a partner who can assist.
We also have a partner who can make the process of creating your legal entity (so you can contract with us) very straightforward in case this is something you'd like to explore.
Once the contract has been signed, Openreach start the process of deploying the infrastructure.
Deploying fibre can be a complex job, so it won't happen overnight. Though work has begun, you'll be able to track the progress of your project through the interactive map on our website
Once the infrastructure is in place you'll need to contact your preferred ISP to order an upgrade to your package.
We'll let you know when to do that.
After finding out they weren’t included in any fibre broadband upgrades being carried out by the public or private sectors, villagers from Bussage and Chalford worked with Openreach to come up with an alternative solution.
The Fell End Broadband project was set up as an innovative ‘self-dig’ scheme in remote Cumbria, spearheaded by Ravenstonedale Parish Council. Around 60 deeply rural homes – spread across a 15Km network – are now able to access ultrafast speeds of up to a blistering 330Mbps after residents helped to pay for and build the fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) broadband network themselves.
A community would typically look at a partnership when it is:
Find out how we have already been working with communities by reading the case studies.
A Community Fibre Partnership is where BT works with a local group – this could be the residents of a rural village or a block of flats in a city centre or even a group of business owners in an industrial park – that isn't covered in an existing fibre upgrade plan to find a solution to bring fibre to their area. The community works directly with BT and helps fund part of the fibre build.
A Community Fibre Partnership is when we work together with a local community (that's not in our commercial or BDUK fibre roll-out plans) to develop a solution to bring fibre to their community. There usually needs to be a joint funding arrangement, where we cover the costs in line with our commercial model used throughout the country and the community has the option to self-fund the remaining gap. We always look for solutions to be as affordable as possible.
If you decide a community fibre partnership is the way you'd like to proceed, check the availability checker against your post code or land line to make sure you're not already covered by the rollout or that there isn't an existing co-funding initiative in your community.
If your property isn't covered contact us (link to this) and provide the details of the property you're enquiring about for fibre broadband, and an associated landline number. Once we've received that, one of our team will get in touch.
First check with your local council and - if one exists in your area - your BDUK authority to see if your community is included in their fibre plans. If not, contact us with us providing the contact details of the people wishing to explore a community fibre partnership solution, and who would lead the local side of any potential co-funding arrangements to bring fibre to the community.
Having a community partnership with BT means your community will be connected to the national fibre network. This brings some key benefits:
The average lead time from contract signature to enablement (of the infrastructure to enable service) is approximately twelve months. This will all depend on the amount and complexity of the infrastructure that needs to be deployed.
This depends on the amount of infrastructure that needs to be deployed, so naturally will differ from community to community. Once an application is assessed, we'll provide costings.
Crowdfunding is a way to raise money, awareness and support for a project, from the people around you. It's a means of funding that allows individuals to make their ideas a reality with the power of the crowd. It is based on the idea that a number of people can split the cost of something – in this case broadband infrastructure, with multiple people contributing an amount, rather than any one person footing the whole bill.
Yes, we'll explain the different costs as part of our discussions with you. Different technologies require different amounts of infrastructure to be installed and the level of network equipment and labour needed to provide the technology will also determine the costs.
This is dependent on the amount of infrastructure that needs to be deployed. And this will differ from community to community. A community will only be asked to cover costs above those of our commercial model. Once agreed, 50% of the gap funding must be paid prior to work starting and the final 50% on completion (once the infrastructure is in place it becomes part of the Openreach network). Please note: it's the responsibility of Openreach to maintain and update the infrastructure.
Yes, Openreach provides access to its network to all service providers, on an equal basis. This means that wherever we deploy fibre, a whole range of different service providers can offer broadband, bringing plenty of choice to consumers and local businesses.
For most solutions, using fibre to the cabinet, bandwidths will range up to 80Mb/s. Final speeds are dependent on each property's distance from the fibre cabinet but you can typically expect a minimum of 24Mb/s at a range of approx. 1200 metres from the cabinet. The nearer the property is to the cabinet, the greater the speed.
We're open to exploring different types of fibre solutions, but what we can provide will depend on the existing communications infrastructure in your area. We'll examine this at the application stage of each request.
This is an exclusive grant that's available to communities whose co-funded fibre infrastructure serves a school that doesn't have access to fibre broadband, or has a low broadband speed (typically <10Mbps).
A further list of FAQs about our grant scheme can be viewed here.