Matt Powell, editor for the broadband comparison website Broadband Genie, provides information on the Broadband Connection Voucher Scheme that is currently available to businesses in the UK. Having recently experienced going through the scheme, Matt also provides a case study from Broadband Genie’s parent company Genie Ventures.
The latest budget statement included some major changes to the UK government’s commitment to broadband services. Previously there was a target of 24Mb for most of the population, and a minimum 2Mb for everyone. Now we’re promised widespread 100Mb access, and a universal obligation of 5Mb.
That’s great news for rural areas and other locations where broadband is currently slow but it’s still some way off becoming a reality, and for businesses in particular a lack of fast internet can be particularly problematic.
But thanks to the Connection Voucher Scheme you can improve your business broadband connectivity right now, and it might not cost anything at all.
To help get businesses connected to faster broadband the government has invested in a grant program that will pay for upgrades. With the Connection Voucher Scheme eligible businesses can claim between £100 and £3000 toward the cost of installing a new broadband internet service.
The scheme is aimed at small and medium businesses, including home businesses and non-profits, and importantly there are more than 600 providers signed on so you’re not limited for choice when it comes to selecting a service. Whether you’re after satellite broadband, cable internet or a leased line the Voucher Scheme can pay for it.
If you’re presently in an area with limited broadband options getting signed up to a faster connection can be quite expensive, especially for smaller organisations and individuals. The Voucher Scheme takes the sting out of it, and with up to £3000 available it means the installation will in many cases be entirely free.
Broadband Genie has first hand experience with the Voucher Scheme. In 2014 Genie Ventures moved to new offices in Cambridge, but was limited to a 12Mb ADSL service. Not an ideal situation for a company that runs web sites.
Luckily Cambridge is one of the cities involved in the scheme, and so Genie Ventures was able to apply for a grant. The application was quickly approved, and it covered the cost of a new 50Mb cable broadband installation.
Rob Hilborn, Marketing Manager at Broadband Genie explains: “The turnaround time for putting in the application and getting approved was excellent – we got a response letting us know our application had been successful within a few days.”
“If you’re doing any sort of business online and suffer with slow broadband, it’s well worth signing up for the connection voucher scheme.”
Many organisations can take advantage of the scheme, so long as they are an SME, registered charity or sole trader that meet the following criteria:
If you’re eligible the application process can begin immediately. First head over to connectionvouchers.co.uk and enter a postcode to confirm your location is covered. Once that’s confirmed you can submit an application to one of the service providers, with the choice of taking an off the shelf package or requesting a quote for a bespoke package.