More than 40,000 small and medium businesses (SMEs) across the UK, with over 2000 in Wales, have now benefitted from the Governments Broadband Connection voucher scheme, latest figures published today show. The scheme, which helps SMEs get connected to superfast broadband has seen a huge surge in demand in recent months, but time is running out for businesses to take advantage of the initiative.
The Government made 40m available in 2015/16 for the scheme, and the vouchers are being issued on a first come, first served basis. Funds have not been ring fenced for individual cities, and with more than 1000 applications now being received each week, Government is encouraging all eligible businesses to apply before the available funds are exhausted.
The scheme allows businesses to apply for grants of up to 3,000 each to cover the costs of installing faster and better broadband. So far, more than 40,000 businesses in the 50 cities across the UK participating in the scheme have had grants approved. The scheme has helped a huge variety of businesses to date, including architects, estate agents, mechanics, events coordinators cafes, graphic designers and caterers.
Digital Economy Minister Ed Vaizey said:
Our offer to small businesses has been a tremendous success and is proving incredibly popular. More than 40,000 UK businesses have already taken up our offer which is aimed at boosting both their broadband speeds as well as their bottom line.
Businesses need to act now to ensure they dont miss out on this fantastic offer and Im urging all eligible businesses to apply now before its too late.
Wales Office Minister Alun Cairns said:
If we want Welsh businesses to innovate and prosper then we need to help them secure access to the best communications technology.
Superfast broadband has already enabled hundreds of Welsh businesses to improve the way they communicate, helping them to grow and compete in the global market.
I hope more welsh businesses sign up for this UK Government scheme and enjoy the economic benefits that superfast broadband brings.
The grant, in the form of a voucher, is part of the governments transformation of the UKs digital landscape, helping cities to create and attract new jobs and investment, and making the UK the best place in the world to do business.
Vouchers issued as at 25 August 2015:
- Scotland - 2087
- Wales - 2042
- Northern Ireland - 1867
- North West - 6344
- North East - 1291
- Yorks and Humber - 5734
- Midlands - 5179
- London - 11664
- East of England - 1407
- South East - 1592
- South West 1734
Benefits small businesses are seeing as a result of a faster connection include:
- Growing and accessing new markets through better communication with customers and suppliers
- Increasing security through fast secure back-up of data
- Increasing productivity and improving customer service through faster upload and download speeds
Businesses can find out if they are eligible and get more details on the broadband connection voucher scheme here.