Government Urges More SMEs to Apply for Broadband Vouchers

With just six months remaining to apply for grants worth up to £3,000, the government has reminded business owners in the 22 SuperConnected Cities to apply, before the scheme shuts down in March 2015.

The SuperConnected Cities scheme started in November 2011 when Chancellor George Osborne announced a £100m boost to improve broadband in 10 UK cities. A second round of funding totalling £50m was announced in May 2012.

Digital minister Ed Vaizey said 6,000 businesses had applied for the grant so far.

The government hopes urban areas will create and attract new jobs and investment by easing access to new markets; which in turn, could improve productivity and customer service capabilities, as well as reduce IT hardware and software costs through cloud enablement.

Business minister Matthew Hancock said not being online was not an option for business.

He said: "Nearly every small firm I meet says a fast, reliable broadband connection is vital for growth.

"Making sure that all our businesses can access the resources they need to grow is an important part of our long-term economic plan."

Mark Collins, director of strategy and public affairs, is pleased with the government's attempt to put broadband vouchers back in the limelight.

He said: "The voucher scheme is a powerful mechanism that addresses an undeniable need for better connectivity from the businesses at the backbone of our economy.

"As an infrastructure partner of this scheme and with our local internet service provider partners offering game-changing services over our gigabit fibre networks, we would urge businesses to take advantage of the voucher funding and upgrade their connectivity today."

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