Money available to SMEs in Southampton and adjoining areas for the introduction of faster broadband speeds18th March 2015
Southampton will be one of 22 newly appointed cities whose local small and medium sized businesses will benefit from up to £3000 of free superfast broadband support, as announced in the Budget on Wednesday 18 March 2015.
The Superfast Broadband Voucher Scheme has been tested elsewhere in the country and now extended to include businesses of up to 249 employees (including sole traders, registered charities, social enterprises, non-profit organisations or residential-based businesses) within the Southampton City Council, Eastleigh Borough Council, and parts of New Forest District Council and Test Valley Borough Council areas.
Councillor Simon Letts, Leader of Southampton City Council, said: “Over the next five years the average UK business will need connection speeds of 10 times their current bandwidth. Better broadband connections will help local businesses to succeed, to be more flexible, more resilient and more robust and also to create efficiencies and deliver faster, better customer services over a variety of channels, with access to the newest and best technology. Faster broadband can futureproof a business for the digital challenges of tomorrow.
“The fact that the Southampton area has been offered this chance so early into the scheme, means that our local businesses will have the chance to get ahead of their competitors based elsewhere in the UK and indeed the world.”
Culture Secretary Sajid Javid said: “This is fantastic news for Southampton as we know how important a fast broadband connection is for businesses across the UK. We want to make sure that small businesses have the technology they need to compete in the digital age. This scheme will help tens of thousands of small businesses around the UK and I urge all Southampton businesses to apply for a voucher from April 2015 onwards.”
Traditional connection speeds average around 5-6 megabytes per second (Mbps); superfast broadband is the next generation of broadband, providing a faster and more reliable service of up to 330Mbps! Broadband can be 'superfast' thanks to fibre-optic cable which is used to deliver the service.
The scheme provides applicants with a government grant of up to £3000 towards the physical installation of the connection to their business premises, including cabling works, surveys and power supply. It does not pay for monthly line rental, bills or IT equipment used within the business. The government has set aside £40 million to support businesses nationwide during 2015/16.
Businesses should first check their eligibility online at www.connectionvouchers.co.uk. They can then choose an ‘off the shelf’ package from one of over 100 suppliers supporting the scheme, or get a personal quote from a broadband supplier.
Applications will be considered on a ‘first-come-first-served’ basis and must be made before 31 March 2016. Further information is available online at: www.investinsouthampton.co.uk. Works must be completed and invoices submitted by 30 June 2016.