The Chancellor announced in his budget statement today that connection vouchers worth up to £3000 are available for Peterborough businesses to pay for the cost of installing superfast broadband.
The grants are being administered by Connecting Cambridgeshire’s Destination Digital project, a partnership of local authorities, including Peterborough City Council. It is funded by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport.
Connection vouchers have already benefited 38 businesses in Peterborough, providing funding of just under £100,000 for superfast broadband connections. It is estimated that over 6,500 businesses in the city could benefit from the funding.
Businesses that have benefitted so far include: Peterborough United Football Club, PP Global from Buckingway Business Park, Web Windows Marketing from Minerva Business Park and Escape Creative from Orton Southgate.
The vouchers pay for the one-off cost of installing superfast broadband to offices, which can be expensive and prevent businesses from getting better connectivity. Businesses can also apply as a group and pool funding to connect business centres and parks .
Eligible businesses include companies with fewer than 250 employees, sole traders, businesses based from home, social enterprises and charities.
The grants can be used to pay for the installation cost of connecting to Peterborough’s ultra-fast pure fibre network. Businesses can choose from over 500 registered internet service providers to get a superfast broadband connection.
Culture Secretary Sajid Javid said: “This is fantastic news for Peterborough 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 Peterborough businesses to apply for a voucher.”
The announcement has been welcomed by the Yes2Fibre campaign, led by Lindsey Hall, who said: “This is an exceptionally well timed initiative with the roll out of gigabit fibre in Peterborough. These vouchers will enable smaller business who suffer poor broadband to offset the capital cost of premium products and vastly improve their connectivity”
Councillor Marco Cereste, Leader of Peterborough City Council said: “Peterborough and Cambridgeshire are leading the way when it comes to installing next generation broadband connections because our businesses need a competitive edge. The roll out of fibre continues across our city and these grants will make it even more tempting for businesses to sign up. If communicating more quickly will give your business a boost I encourage you to look into this scheme.”
Councillor Mathew Shuter, Business Champion at Cambridgeshire County Council said: “Superfast broadband is vital for all businesses and our local economy. I am delighted that we can now offer the scheme to businesses across the county to ensure that they can grow and compete in an increasingly digital world.”
Businesses can find out more about connection vouchers and apply online through Connecting Cambridgeshire’s Destination Digital website: www.destinationdigital.info