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Virgin trialling free broadband installation for businesses

Tuesday, November 3rd 2015 by Ellen Branagh

Virgin Media Business has become the latest company to offer free broadband installation to small businesses following the closure of the government’s own voucher scheme.

The government last month announced that its Connection Voucher scheme – which allowed businesses to apply for up to £3,000 to cover the costs of installing better broadband – was suspended, with no more applications being accepted.

Shortly after the announcement gigabit broadband provider CityFibre said it was waiving connection fees, which can cost up to £2,500, for businesses in its project cities for three weeks.

Virgin Media Business has now followed suit, launching a free small business broadband installation programme and urging the government to reintroduce its voucher scheme.

The company said it will cover up to £1,000 of installation costs for new business customers in the same cities where the Superconnected Cities voucher programme operated.

The scheme will cover installation of its 50Mb and 152Mb products (broadband only or bundles) and will be trialled for the rest of the year.

Virgin said it has set the figure at £1,000 because 86% of installations it completed under the government’s voucher programme were for less than £1,000.

Mike Smith, director of small business at Virgin Media Business, said: “We’ve connected thousands of small businesses with the support of the Super Connected Cities voucher scheme, which was a huge success to help businesses get online.

'Healthy competition'

“Given the extraordinary take-up among businesses and healthy competition between hundreds of connectivity suppliers, we strongly encourage the government to reintroduce the scheme.

“In the meantime, we’re pleased to launch this exclusive trial for the UK’s small businesses to help them get online and thrive with the fastest available broadband.

“We know one of the biggest challenges facing small businesses is upfront costs, including for the likes of broadband.”

In its own report – The UK's £92 billion Digital Opportunity, launched in October – Virgin suggested that digital technologies could boost the UK economy by £92bn, as well as creating more than a million new jobs across all industries over the next two years.

It also cited a report from the Federation of Small Business (FSB) which found that 99% of small business owners rate the internet as being highly important to their business.

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