Users relying on slow and unreliable workplace internet connections waste time, become frustrated, and ultimately can lose interest in the task in hand. A fast and reliable arrangement brings numerous benefits. Efficiency takes a leap – downtime reduces, while productivity increases – and ‘IT exasperation’ eases. And that’s not all: superfast broadband also enables swift access to cloud computing, which saves on resources associated with in-house servers and IT infrastructure.
Clear-cut company financial savings can also be made, making this a technology strategy that will be welcomed by even those whip-crackers in accounts. Fast-moving broadband means comparatively low cost internet-based telephone systems transform from unreliable pie-in-the-sky notions into serious alternatives to traditional telephony set-ups. Video conferencing also becomes a dependable resource, potentially saving considerable time as well as money. Suddenly, it’s not just good to talk, it’s efficient and effective, too.
So the benefits of superfast broadband are clear, but so are the super-high installation costs, right? Yes. And no. Government wants more Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to benefit from download speeds in excess of 30Mbit/s and businesses can now apply for vouchers to assist with the cost of making the physical broadband connection too. The Connection Voucher Scheme is part of the SuperConnected Cities programme – this is the second wave of the Urban Broadband Fund (UBF) – and SMEs in 22 designated cities can apply for a contribution between £200 and £3000. Cities included in the scheme run from Aberdeen to Brighton and Hove, stopping off at 20 further locations en route. You can check if you’re a postcode winner on Connection Vouchers website.
But it’s first come first served and Government will close the lid on £150 million pot in March 2015. So to get superfast broadband, SMEs need to act, yup, superfast. First stop is the Connection Vouchers eligibility checker, which you can find here. The process is remarkably painless – simply enter your business postcode, answer five questions, hit ‘show results’ and five green ticks signify you qualify to apply for the next best thing to luncheon vouchers.
And if your business doesn’t apply, other businesses will. In fact, some already have. On 01 April of this year (no joke!) V3 Recruitment, applying through the Super Connected Portsmouth programme, received the scheme’s first broadband voucher. Managing director of V3, Alvin Edyvane, said “A business grade internet connection is the only way that we can reliably run our bandwidth-heavy tech. To discover that Portsmouth City Council is running the connection voucher scheme which could help us fund the upgrade was a welcome gift!”
So there you have it – a ‘welcome gift’ from the government. To be fair, that’s not a phrase you read too often. Please do all rush at once.