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Over 1,000 businesses across Coventry & Warwickshire have improved their broadband connectivity through the Broadband Connection Voucher Scheme.
Administered by Coventry City Council’s’ Innovative Coventry’ team, the scheme was designed to encourage businesses to benefit from improved online connectivity - and provided grants of up to £3,000 to cover the costs of installing superfast broadband.
£40million was made available nationally by central government in April with all funds being allocated in October, such was the demand. Businesses who successfully applied saw their broadband speeds transformed as, on average, download speeds increased from under 10Mbps to over 90Mbps.
A fast and reliable broadband connection is becoming more important for businesses, whether for increasing online presence and marketing, transferring large data files, holding video conferences, enabling staff to work remotely and flexibly with new technology, storing data online via the cloud or utilising online communication channels such as social media.
A wide range of regional businesses are now experiencing the benefits of superfast broadband including manufacturing firms, estate agents, restaurants, graphic designers, car garages, retail shops, accountants and logistics companies.
Cllr Kevin Maton, Cabinet Member, Business, Enterprise and Employment said:
“In the next five to ten years, an average UK business will probably need up to ten times their current bandwidth to enable them to communicate and trade to their full potential, so it is vital that we do everything possible to help local businesses prepare for future technological demands.
“The Connection Voucher Scheme has provided a great opportunity for businesses to upgrade their broadband and ready themselves for digital challenges that lie ahead, and I am delighted that so many local organisations have been able to benefit from the scheme".
Coventry Blaze Ice Hockey team, are just one of those for whom increased broadband connectivity has made a huge difference to how they connect with fans nationally and globally. They chose local broadband supplier HBT Communications to enable them to provide live webcasts of their matches taking place at the Skydome.
Mike Cowley, Managing Director of Coventry Blaze commented: “Our live webcasts can now be accessed from fans all over the world. It provides us with a great income stream, and helps us reach a global audience”.
As well as local businesses benefitting from the scheme, the success has been driven by many local broadband suppliers including HBT Communications, Warwicknet, BDR, City Fibre, Blue Global, Shiva Technology, Syscomm and Nexus.gs who have all helped to make superfast broadband available.
Across the scheme nationally 55,000 businesses benefitted from a broadband connection delivered by the scheme and are reporting - on average - a £1,300 per year increase in profits, with a new job being created for every four new connections.
This means that for every £1 the UK Government invested in the scheme, more than £5 will be returned to the UK economy.