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Vaizey: Businesses should ‘act now’ on superfast broadband grants

Thursday, September 3rd 2015 by Phil Wilkinson-Jones

More than 40,000 businesses have taken advantage of government grants to help cover the cost of installing superfast broadband.

Take-up of the Connection Voucher scheme has picked up in recent months, but digital minister Ed Vaizey has today urged businesses yet to apply to act quickly.

The scheme is due to close in March 2016 but with more than 1,000 applications being made every week, the £40m made available by the government could be exhausted sooner.

The scheme allows businesses to apply for grants of up to £3,000 each to cover the costs of installing faster and better broadband.

So far, more than 40,000 businesses in the 50 cities across the UK participating in the scheme have had grants approved.

The government is reminding businesses that vouchers are issued on a first-come, first-served basis and funds are not ring-fenced for individual cities.

Mr Vaizey said: “Our offer to small businesses has been a tremendous success and is proving incredibly popular.

“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.”

Businesses in London had been issued the most vouchers as of 25 August (11,664) followed by the north-west with 6,344 and Yorkshire and Humberside with 5,734.

'Thriving local economy'

Cable.co.uk reported last month that the voucher scheme was being extended in Cambridgeshire and Derbyshire.

Cambridgeshire councillor Mathew Shuter, business champion for the council’s economy and environment committee, said he was delighted the scheme was being extended.

“More businesses on the Cambridgeshire borders can now benefit from connection vouchers to help improve their broadband connectivity, which is vital so that they can grow and compete in a digital world.

“Hundreds of businesses have already benefited from this popular scheme, but the funding is going fast so we are urging businesses to apply as soon as possible.”

Cllr Paul Dunn, Derbyshire County Council’s cabinet support member for highways, transport and infrastructure, said: “We’re committed to supporting local businesses to help create a thriving local economy.

“Our Digital Derbyshire programme is bringing better, faster broadband to 88,000 homes and businesses across the county.

“We know the benefits superfast broadband can bring for local firms.

“A fast and reliable broadband service is as important as good road and rail links for businesses today.”

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