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Businesses are to benefit from grants of up to £3000 to get gigabit broadband installed as part of a £2 million trial taking place in four areas around the UK.
Suppliers will be offering vouchers worth between £500 and £3000 each to local businesses which can then be used to pay for the installation of gigabit speed connections.
The pilot aims to encourage the market to extend full fibre infrastructure in the UK by increasing demand and reducing the cost to customers.
Benefits of a full fibre gigabit connection include: allowing businesses to upload and download massive files in a matter of seconds; enabling widespread use of videoconferencing throughout an organisation; providing an unprecedented level of reliability whilst greatly enhancing resilience; future proofing - making sure that businesses have the technology in place to deal with the ever increasing demands for internet speed and connectivity; and allowing businesses in remote communities to compete on a technologically level playing field with those companies based in major cities who may already have full fibre connectivity.
Four areas across the UK have been carefully selected to test the market conditions and infrastructure conditions the government aims to help to create through the wider Local Full Fibre Network programme. The areas are Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire, Bristol, with Bath and North East Somerset, Coventry and Warwickshire, West Yorkshire Combined Authority (Bradford, Calderdale, Kirklees, Leeds, Wakefield and York).
The programme comes as part of the government’s £23 billon National Productivity Investment Fund aimed at improving productivity. This fund has already earmarked £740 million specifically for improving Britain’s digital infrastructure.
Matt Hancock, Minister for Digital, said: “A world-class digital communications network is essential to ensure the UK’s future competitiveness in the global market and its ability to attract investment. Faster and more reliable connections are transforming the way we live and work, and better broadband supports businesses to grow and become more productive.
“These voucher pilots, alongside a range of other actions, are testament to Government’s ambition for full fibre infrastructure across the UK to underpin our digital economy.”
Andrew Jones, Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, said: “We are determined to provide the infrastructure needed for British businesses to thrive and prosper. The rollout of next generation, full-fibre broadband will help do that.
“Lightning internet speeds and unprecedented reliability will boost trade and ensure our firms can connect effortlessly to their customers and suppliers.”