The CLA has welcomed an announcement that more funding is now available to help homes and businesses in rural areas of Northumberland get access to much faster and more reliable internet connections.

Vouchers are currently available in the Borderlands deal to subsidise the costs of bringing gigabit broadband to areas suffering with slow speeds.

As part of the £394.5m Borderlands Growth Deal, up to £4m of additional government funding will ‘top up’ these vouchers so even more money is available to improve digital connectivity and boost the regional economy.

The Government’s Gigabit Broadband Vouchers Scheme (GBVS) currently provides up to £3,500 funding for eligible businesses and up to £1,500 for eligible residential properties to install gigabit-capable connections.

The £4m made available would be used to match the level of funding available under the GBVS, so that eligible businesses could now apply for up to a maximum of £7,000 and eligible residential properties up to £3,000.

Businesses and residents in Northumberland, and Cumbria, are eligible to receive these contributions towards gigabit-capable connections if they are based in locations that are unlikely to benefit from commercial broadband rollout, or where available services are currently less than ‘superfast’.

CLA North Rural Adviser Libby Bateman said: “The CLA welcomes this much needed boost to eradicate the digital divide between urban and rural areas in Northumberland and Cumbria.

“During the Covid-19 pandemic, connectivity has become more acute in ensuring businesses can be part of the wider economy.

“For many years the CLA has called for greater digital connectivity in the countryside as it a critical part of enabling the rural sector to grow and prosper with additional jobs and wealth created.”

Residents and businesses can visit the Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme website at to find a list of suppliers in their local area.

Once supplier have been contacted, they will apply for the relevant level of funding required to support each project.

Applications for the topped up broadband vouchers open today with a deadline to apply by March 31.