Businesses in Swindon will now be able to apply for grants of up to £3,000 each to boost their broadband, following an announcement by the Chancellor.
This comes as part of the Government’s broadband connection voucher scheme, which is to be extended for a further year. Each voucher covers up to £3,000 of installation costs but businesses can also apply as a group to connect bigger or more complicated premises. Once installed, businesses pay the line rental and VAT.
More than 12,000 vouchers have already been issued to businesses in other cities around the UK. From 1 April this year, small businesses in another 28 towns and cities including Swindon will be eligible to apply.
Culture Secretary Sajid Javid said: “This is fantastic news for Swindon 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 Swindon businesses to apply for a voucher from April 2015 onwards.”
The benefits to businesses of improved broadband connections include:
• Increasing profits by offering better services to more satisfied customers.
• Improving customers’ experience with quicker, communication and faster file-sharing thanks to higher upload and download speeds, especially for large files.
• Reducing software and hardware costs by helping businesses switch to online data storage solutions.
• Enhancing the way businesses communicate and collaborate through online video conference and cloud-based information sharing.
Cllr Garry Perkins, Swindon Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for the Economy, Regeneration and Skills, said: “I am delighted Swindon has been chosen for this broadband scheme as it will be a big boost to small businesses in the town as access to broadband is so important to firms.
“This announcement further builds on our commitment to helping the local economy and comes after our plans to roll out superfast broadband across almost the entire borough were approved by cabinet last week.”
Applying for a broadband grant is easy – after 1 April 2015 all businesses in Swindon have to do is enter their postcode at www.connectionvouchers.co.uk to check eligibility, choose a supplier and fill in an application form or pick an off the shelf deal with no forms to fill in. Charities, not for profit organisations and commercial landlords can also apply.
Information on the scheme will also be available from 1 April via: www.swindon.gov.uk/connectionvouchers