UK broadband voucher scheme to be redesigned following low take-up
The government is set to redesign the current scheme which was devise to assist small businesses in getting ultrafast broadband after a disappointing number of small businesses took up the current offering.
The government had set aside £100 million with the intention of reaching out to around 200,000 small businesses. However, current figures stand with just £7.5 million being awarded to 3,000 businesses who took up the government on their offer.
There is a deadline for the money to be spent which is due to be in March of next year and the government are keen to increase interest in the scheme by redesigning both the offering and the application process.
These changes include:
- Redesigned website
- Streamlined application process
- Qualifying businesses no longer need to fill in an application form but can access the government grant with a call to a pre-approved broadband supplier
- Businesses that already have a different supplier in mind need only to fill in a form to get their quote approved
- Suppliers can also apply to BDUK (the group overseeing the process) with a set of eligible connection costs, cutting the need for businesses to apply at all
- Once a broadband package has been approved, suppliers can market them to eligible businesses with no more need for forms or rubber-stamping
The scheme to assist organisations across the UK in getting superfast broadband is part of the wider plan to create a network of super-connected cities throughout the UK. More than 20 cities, including London, Edinburgh, Cardiff, Belfast, Birmingham, Manchester and Cambridge, were earmarked in 2012 for ultra-fast broadband, defined as minimum speeds of 80Mbps. There are some limitations to the scheme however, as only organisations that employ less than 250 people are eligible to apply.
Small businesses in particular should see great benefits of an increased broadband speed, as they will be able to communicate with others faster than ever before. A good broadband connection for your business means there's a greater capacity to send and receive data electronically. This will allow files to be downloaded and uploaded faster, and emails sent and received much quicker, which will be particularly beneficial for companies that regularly need to send large data files.
Superfast Broadband also has the potential to significantly improve business performance. It may lead to the development of a new business model, provide access to new markets, improve customer relationships and operational savings, or give an organisation a unique selling point (USP) that leads to a competitive advantage over others in the market place.
It will further allow them to grow their current online presence or introduce an online presence which is undoubtedly an effective marketing tool for UK based businesses. As a result, this is certain to provide better opportunities for businesses.