Small businesses in Highland set to benefit from broadband boost
Businesses in Inverness and many other parts of the Highlands will now be able to apply for grants of up to £3,000 each to boost their broadband, following an announcement made earlier this week by the Chancellor.
This comes as part of the Government’s broadband connection voucher scheme, which is to be extended for a further year. Each voucher covers up to £3,000 of installation costs but businesses can also apply as a group to connect bigger or more complicated premises. Once installed, businesses pay the line rental and VAT.
More than 12,000 vouchers have already been issued to businesses in other cities around the UK. From 1 April this year, small businesses in another 28 cities including Inverness will be eligible to apply.
Culture Secretary Sajid Javid said: “This is fantastic news for Inverness as we know how important a fast broadband connection is for businesses across the UK. We want to make sure that small businesses have the technology they need to compete in the digital age. This scheme will help tens of thousands of small businesses around the UK and I urge all Inverness businesses to apply for a voucher from April 2015 onwards.”
The benefits to businesses of improved broadband connections include:
• Increasing profits by offering better services to more satisfied customers.
• Improving customers’ experience with quicker, communication and faster file-sharing thanks to higher upload and download speeds, especially for large files.
• Reducing software and hardware costs by helping businesses switch to online data storage solutions.
• Enhancing the way businesses communicate and collaborate through online video conference and cloud-based information sharing.
The Highland Council’s City Leader, Councillor Ian Brown said: “The Council welcomes this announcement which offers support for small businesses, charities, social enterprises and sole traders in Inverness to upgrade their broadband connections. There are considerable benefits to those who take up the offer, including the potential for improved business opportunity and productivity, so I hope as many as possible do.”
Applying for a broadband grant is easy - after 1 April 2015 all Inverness businesses have to do is enter their postcode at http://www.connectionvouchers.co.uk/ to check eligibility, choose a supplier and fill in an application form or pick an off the shelf deal with no forms to fill in. Charities, not for profit organisations and commercial landlords can also apply.