UK government praises success of broadband voucher scheme

The UK government’s Super Connected Cities Scheme appears to have been successful so far, with figures showing that more than 40,000 small businesses have benefited from the scheme.

Read more: UK government comes under scrutiny by MP’s for big data efforts

The programme made more than £150 million available across 22 UK cities in order to develop their digital infrastructure. As well as improving broadband capacity and the availability of public Wi-Fi, the scheme also offered SMBs grants of up to £3,000 to help with broadband installation costs, dubbed the Broadband Connection Voucher Scheme.

Now the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has released figures showing exactly how each city has taken advantage of the programme. London saw the most businesses take up the voucher scheme with 11,664, while Manchester was next (4,163) and Leeds-Bradford came in third place (4,016). Other cities making up the top ten include Birmingham, Belfast, Cardiff, Liverpool, Bristol, Coventry and Newcastle.

The government has set aside £40 million for broadband vouchers across 2015/16 and businesses are being advised to act fast to ensure their application is successful. According to Ed Vaizey, the digital economy minister, more than 1,000 businesses are applying to the programme every week.

“Our offer to small businesses has been a tremendous success and is proving incredibly popular,” he said. “More than 40,000 UK businesses have already taken up our offer, which is aimed at boosting both their broadband speeds as well as their bottom line. Businesses need to act now to ensure they don’t miss out on this fantastic offer and I’m urging all eligible businesses to apply now before it’s too late.”

Read more: UK government opens cyber security centre for SMBs

Business across a diverse range of industries have already benefitted from the Super Connected Cities Scheme and the UK government will be pleased to see its popularity continue, as fast, reliable online access is crucial if the country is to play a leading role in the global digital economy.