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Cityfibre offers fibre to businesses who missed out on broadband voucher scheme

Wednesday, October 21st 2015 by Ellen Branagh

Gigabit broadband provider CityFibre is offering free connections to businesses in its project cities for three weeks, in a bid to help those who missed out on the government's voucher scheme.

The company has announced that it is waiving connection fees - which can cost up to £2,500 - for businesses wanting to connect to its fibre networks in Aberdeen, Coventry, Edinburgh, Huddersfield, Peterborough and York.

The move comes after the government last week announced the suspension of its Connection Voucher scheme, which allows businesses to apply for grants of up to £3,000 to cover the costs of installing better broadband, saying its funds were close to being fully committed.

CityFibre, formed in 2011, builds and operates fibre optic networks and is creating what it calls ‘Gigabit Cities’ across the UK.

The company has also teamed up with Sky and TalkTalk to offer a pure fibre network called Ultra Fibre Optic.

Cable.co.uk recently reported that the Huntington and Groves areas of York will be among the first to get the new ultrafast service, which is completely separate from BT's network.

Announcing its three-week offer of free connections for businesses, the company said many potential applicants may have been caught "off guard" when the government's voucher scheme was suspended last week.

'A final chance'

James Thomas, director of operations, said: “We were great supporters of the government’s connection voucher scheme as a catalyst to encourage businesses to upgrade to ultra-fast services and more modern pure fibre networks.

“We are delighted to be able to help those businesses that have missed out on the voucher, giving them a final chance to get connected to transformational services on future-proof pure fibre infrastructure in the cities we serve.”

The offer is open to over 55,000 businesses within reach of CityFibre’s networks in its project cities and ends on 5 November.

Interested businesses can register their interest in the offer by visiting CityFibre's website. All registered businesses are subject to survey and if eligible, details will be passed to CityFibre’s Internet Service Provider partners to follow-up.

By September, 40,000 businesses in the 50 cities across the UK participating in the government's connection voucher scheme had had grants approved, with more than 1,000 applications being made every week.

The scheme was due to close in March 2016, but it was anticipated that the £40m made available by the government for the grants could be exhausted sooner and just last month, digital minister Ed Vaizey urged businesses yet to apply to act quickly.

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