Government urges businesses to claim £2,500 broadband vouchers
The government has urged businesses wanting to take advantage of a £2,500 voucher towards the cost of installing gigabit broadband to apply as soon as possible so they don’t miss out.
According to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) more than 7,000 businesses have signed up to the government’s Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme and soon the pot of money set aside to finance it will dry up.
“Our modern Industrial Strategy is clear on the importance of connectivity, as we build a full fibre Britain that is fit for the Future,” Minister for Digital Margot James said. “These vouchers provide practical and immediate help to firms struggling with slow broadband speeds. I encourage small businesses around the UK to apply now.”
The £67 million scheme was developed to help businesses install gigabit broadband and was planned to run until March 2021, but so many companies have applied, the government will have to stop organisations applying a year earlier if demand remains so high.
DCMS explained the scheme has experienced most demand from businesses in South West, followed by the South East, Yorkshire and the North West.
Previously, businesses were able to apply for grants of up to £3,000 to fund the implementation of gigabit broadband, but the government has now been forced to cap this at £2,500 to eek more out of the total budget. However, the DCMCS will analyse this on a case-by-case basis and if more money is needed in a particular area, it will reassign budget where possible.
“Access to good broadband is vital for small businesses across the UK, and with the clock ticking on this scheme, it’s important small businesses don’t delay if they want to apply for funding,” said Mike Cherry, National Federation of Self-Employed & Small Businesses Limited chairman.