21 February 2014

Businesses get well connected with broadband voucher funding

Small businesses, charities and voluntary organisations in the city can now apply for funding of up to £3,000 through the Connection Voucher Scheme to help them improve their broadband connection speed.

Landlords or tenants in shared commercial buildings can also pool their vouchers to pay for a shared connection with very high bandwidth. The scheme is being run by Brighton & Hove City Council using Super Connected Cities funding from the government’s Department for Culture Media and Sport.

Council leader Jason Kitcat said: “We won this government cash to support our city’s reputation as a hub for digital and creative businesses. We’re delighted to be able to offer it as funding to help our businesses grow and diversify. Improving broadband in the city is essential to keeping us at the cutting edge, and removing barriers to local firms competing globally online.

“The council is working hard with partners to support our local economy’s continued success. Any business can benefit from the faster, more reliable connections these vouchers can help pay for, but I think it will especially help our many wonderful local technology, digital and creative businesses.”

Communications Minister Ed Vaizey said: “We are witnessing a transformation of broadband in the UK which will be instrumental in driving our economic growth. These vouchers will save businesses in Brighton and Hove thousands of pounds, as well as generating thousands more, and I strongly urge businesses to make the most of this offer to ensure they are properly equipped to compete in today’s digital age.”

Brighton & Hove was one of a number of cities across the UK to be selected as part of a government scheme to offer businesses better access to high speed quality broadband.  There is £1.5m for vouchers in Brighton & Hove, and up to 1,000 small businesses are expected to benefit from them.

The Connection Voucher Scheme will help companies reap the benefits of having a stronger digital/online presence. These include improved business efficiency, better reliability and greater ability to work with partners and be more competitive.

The scheme is open to small and medium-sized enterprises with premises in Brighton & Hove. More information, including details of how to apply can be found at: www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/connection-vouchers.

The voucher covers capital installation costs, and not ongoing line rental or VAT on connection costs. The new connection must be in place for a minimum of six months.

For more information about the government scheme and to check eligibility go to: www.connectionvouchers.co.uk


Background information

In 2011, the government set aside £100 million for an Urban Broadband Fund (UBF) that created up to ten ‘super-connected’ cities across the UK. This was followed in 2012 by a further fund of £50 million for a ‘second wave’ of cities to benefit from this programme.

The super-connected cities will benefit from improved internet connections through a number of different technologies.

Brighton & Hove was in the ‘second wave’ of cities announced in 2012.