More than 1,300 local businesses in the Bristol region have benefitted for the first time from superfast broadband speeds thanks to the UK Government’s Super Connected Cities initiative.
A survey of companies who applied for the Connection Voucher Scheme found slow broadband was hampering productivity, the range of services they could offer and overall growth. However, businesses who upgraded to superfast broadband with the scheme benefited from productivity-boosting advantages like being able to support new ways of working e.g. mobile working, more effective use of cloud services, VOIP systems and backing up systems at a much faster rate.
SMEs could apply for grants of up to £3,000 under the scheme which ran from December 2013 to October 2015. In total, 1,315 organisations took advantage of the UK Government’s Broadband Connection Voucher Scheme, which covered the initial cost of installing a high speed broadband connection. Vouchers totaling more than £2.1 million were issued in the Greater Bristol area to deliver superfast speeds, with the scheme administered by Bristol City Council.
Businesses commenting on the difference superfast makes include Stuart Salmon, Managing Director of TR Scaffolding, who said: “Our broadband upgrade has transformed how we are able to operate our business. We now have a cloud based CRM system in place, we are able to Skype video/audio call and transferring large data files is made a lot simpler. Slow internet was identified as the biggest threat to our company achieving its growth targets.”
Piers Tincknell, of Atomic Smash, a design and development studio, said: “Since having the new superfast broadband we have been able to sync files much faster across the team enabling us to be more productive and offer a better services to our clients.”
In Bristol’s neighbouring authorities, the scheme has helped to improve broadband speed for a variety of businesses and venues including Bath Christian Trust who run The Forum – Bath’s largest venue (Bath & North East Somerset), The World Travel Agency (North Somerset) and Brunel Coffee Ltd (South Gloucestershire).
Read more case studies from other local companies who have benefited from this scheme and the difference fast internet has made.
Businesses who did not participate in this scheme and who are looking for superfast / ultrafast speeds should contact other fibre network providers active in the city, including City Fibre, The Bristol Network, BT and Virgin Media or a business-to-business telecoms consultant. Do bear in mind, The Connection Voucher Scheme closed at the end of September 2016 and there is no further funding from this UK Government scheme.