Opportunity to get funding for better broadband extended
Shortly before Christmas of last year, and following the Autumn Statement, the UK Government announced that the Connection Vouchers Scheme, which is part of the Super Connected Cities programme run by the DCMS, has now been extended by a further year. The scheme allows businesses across the UK to apply for funding to upgrade their internet connections to superior, ‘super-fast’ broadband.
This means that the scheme is due to come to an end in early 2016, or indeed when the funds run out.
The Connection Vouchers scheme is an initiative that signals the UK Government’s commitment to rolling out Superfast broadband across the UK, and to enabling businesses within Britain to take advantage of these superfast connections, improving productivity levels, communication, collaboration and customer service offerings. Superfast fibre connections offer download speeds of over 30Mbs.
Extending the scheme by a further twelve months will enable businesses who have not yet learned of the scheme to now apply and take advantage of up to £3,000 in funding to upgrade their business internet connection.
The scheme currently applies to 22 cities across the UK. Further cities will be added to this list in April of this year.
So far, the scheme has had some real success stories- more than 5,000 vouchers have been issued, according to the division of the DCMS that is delivering the scheme, BDUK. More than 650 suppliers have registered connections on behalf of a wide and diverse mix of business types.
£150 million has been committed to the SuperConnected Cities programme, and now that the scheme is being extended it is receiving a further cash boost of £40 million.
Interested businesses can choose from a list of chosen providers to find out more about whether they qualify for the scheme.
This scheme is particularly aimed at SMEs, as premium broadband services can be expensive and not a viable prospect for young companies with tight budgets to stick to. Those businesses who are experiencing or anticipating growth can also benefit, as a fast broadband connection can enable them to put in place a robust communications infrastructure and capitalise on any growth. Superfast broadband can also help businesses to migrate to cost effective VoIP services, in which voice calls and data are delivered via the internet.
As Bristol is fast becoming the technological, creative and industry focussed hub of the Southwest, with many entrepreneurial companies populating the centre and the various creative sites around the city- such as the Paintworks and Knowle West Media Centre – many businesses within Bristol stand to benefit from connection vouchers.
Current cities included in the scheme are:
- Brighton & Hove,
The ultimate goal is to get Superfast broadband rolled out to 95% of the UK by 2017, making this one of the fastest roll-outs in the world.