The Super Connected Cities scheme is a unique opportunity for small to medium sized companies in cities up and down the UK to bolster their business online.
Some areas of the UK have faster broadband than others, and the scheme, which is funded by the Department of Media, Culture, and Sport, wants to create a level playing field for the entire country and help businesses compete internationally through high speed communications.
Under its broadband investment policy, the government is aiming for 95% of the country to be receiving broadband speeds of at least 24 megabits per second (Mbps) by 2017. The program is advancing rapidly. The standards for broadband speed are constantly growing and UK businesses cannot afford to be left behind.
More than £150m has been invested in the Super Connected Cities program thus far. This doesn’t just includes powering local SMBs with superfast broadband but also installing comprehensive public Wi-Fi spots throughout cities on public buildings in city centres.
Through superfast broadband vouchers, and the nationwide scheme to distribute them, SMBs can get the leg up they need to get connected and to ensure they’re well placed to do business both nationally and internationally. Please note that vouchers are of limited supply, and the government has indicated that the scheme is reaching it’s funding limit. Businesses can apply for fast tracked, pre-approved packages at Superfast Vouchers.
Since launching in April of this year, several cities have already benefited from the scheme and more cities are slated to join the program in the future, giving more SMBs an opportunity to improve their online performance, provided they meet the criteria.
Dozens of cities and towns up and down the UK have benefited from the scheme already. In Bournemouth for example, city officials have urged small and medium sized business to take advantage of the offer, according to one of the city’s economic development managers.
The scheme allows for internet service providers (ISPs), both big and small, to offer high speed broadband services in their localities. One Dorset-based ISP says it is prepared to deploy new superfast broadband infrastructure for businesses. “Too many businesses are running on domestic grade services,” they said.
Dorset County Council, which is just one of many county and city councils involved, says it wants to have at least 500 local businesses signing up and using the vouchers.
Successful applicants can receive vouchers to the value of £3,000, which will cover the installation costs (including appropriate routers) of high speed broadband from your internet service provider. Any additional costs of installation and the subsequent monthly subscription fees will be the responsibility of the business owner from that point forward.
More cities are itching to get involved too. John Stevenson MP in Carlisle is pushing hard for his city to be accepted into the program. “Carlisle is home to many SMEs and I do not want them to be disadvantaged,” Stevenson said.
He added: “We have a good case to make and the outcomes could be quite significant.”
All broadband vouchers are available on a first come, first served basis and the program urges interested businesses to apply as soon as possible to ensure a place on the scheme.