Government funding for SMEs to boost broadband

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It was announced today that the Government incentive – ‘SuperConnected Cities’ – is to be extended to now include four major cities in Scotland which is fantastic news for small business and the economy.

Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander announced the move when he spoke at the Core Cities event in Glasgow, telling delegates that “for many businesses across Scotland and the UK, high speed broadband isn’t a luxury, it’s a necessity”.

Small businesses in Glasgow, Inverness, Stirling and Dundee will now be able to apply for a share of £40 million of UK Government cash to boost their broadband connection.

Businesses in Edinburgh, Perth and Aberdeen, as well as in 19 other UK cities, already benefit from the scheme providing grants to help those needing to upgrade their broadband.

UPDATE: Vouchers will be available in all new cities from 1 April 2015 and available on a first come, first serve basis until March 2016.

 

What is the scheme?

 

Funded by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) SuperConnected Cities allows small businesses, social enterprises, charities and sole traders to apply for grants of up to £3,000 in vouchers to cover the cost of installing a faster and better connection.

The vouchers are paid to the registered supplier directly. The grant can cover both fixed solutions and wireless solutions. All the the business owner has to pay is the VAT and the balance if the work is costs £3k, as well as any ongoing subscription costs.

 

Is my business eligible?

 

  • You can use this helpful postcode finder to check if your business is eligible – https://www.connectionvouchers.co.uk
  • Broadband Connection Vouchers are available to Small or Medium Enterprises (SMEs) if:
  • Your business is within an eligible area. [https://www.connectionvouchers.co.uk]
  • You are a SME, registered charity, social enterprise or sole trader
  • You employ between 1 and 249 persons
  • You have an annual turnover not exceeding €50 million OR
  • You have an annual balance sheet total not exceeding €43 million.
  • Installation of your new broadband connection will cost over £100
  • The connection is for your business premises. You can apply for a connection at home if this is your main work base, but this does not apply if you work from home occasionally
  • You are willing to sign up to a minimum 6 month contract with your broadband supplier
  • The broadband service you select delivers a speed or performance improvement on your current connection. There are some detailed requirements on speed that you should check before applying
  • You have not received more than around £120,000 in grants in the last 3 years

The scheme supports 26 areas throughout the UK. Within Scotland there are now 7 cities eligible;

  • Edinburgh, (Lothians or Fife)
  • Aberdeen
  • Perth
  • Glasgow
  • Inverness
  • Stirling
  • Dundee

Some cities operate additional eligibility rules depending on your business sector.

Superfast broadband will be essential in driving profits for local businesses, and rural economies are set to benefit by around £9 million every day thanks to the work being done now

The Government said it is on track to take super-fast access to 95% of the UK by 2017. The current figure is around 80%.

We are delighted with this announcement, we know all too well how vital access to a fast internet connection can be to business and we look forward to the roll out to more Scottish cities.

If you are eligible and you’d like to take advantage of this great scheme by improving your connectivity with us, get in touch and we can look into options available to you.

Telephone: 0141 644 8960
Email: info@wearepcr.com
9th February 2015
By pcr


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