The long awaited Super Connected Cities programme is now underway, after a smaller trial during summer 2013. The scheme that offers a voucher to the value of up to £3,000 has launched in ten cities: Belfast, Salford, Portsmouth, Cardiff, Derby, Bristol, Edinburgh, Newport, London and Manchester.
The scheme is aimed at the SME sector with the purpose of subsidising the cost of installing a faster broadband connection for a business, be that a business grade FTTC service, FTTP, FTTB or a fixed wireless service. The scheme has some £100m to spend in total, but this is divided across 22 cities with the second wave of 12 smaller cities launching in early 2014.
"Britain is undergoing a broadband transformation and businesses up and down the country will benefit from the millions of pounds we’ve set aside. We want Britain’s digital infrastructure to be the best in the world and having faster and more reliable broadband will be key in driving growth.
I strongly urge businesses to make the most of this offer which will save them thousands of pounds, help generate thousands more, and ensure they are properly equipped to compete in today’s digital age.Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, Maria Miller
The www.connectionvouchers.co.uk website which is funded by DCMS has links to the various schemes running and details of who is eligible. The key point is that the voucher only covers the cost of getting you connected, so does not cover the on going monthly line rental.
The scheme is much more than just another hand-out to BT, a much wider group of operators are taking part as the leased line market in cities is pretty vibrant but the install costs can sometimes dissuade a SME from taking the leap. For those in areas of a city where the standard residential grade FTTC/cable services have skipped the scheme offers a real chance to boost connection speed without relocating office. One example from the trials is a firm that jumped from an 8 Mbps ADSL line to a 30 Mbps wireless leased line.