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Belfast, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Manchester and Salford trial Urban Broadband Fund vouchers

Businesses in five ‘test’ cities can now apply for vouchers to subsidise connection costs for next-gen ultrafast broadband. 

Firms in Belfast, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Manchester and Salford can apply for coupons to take the edge of connecting to services from the likes of Hyperoptic, eXwavia and The Loop, among others, as part of the government’s Urban Broadband Fund (UBF). 

DCMS (the Department of Media, Culture and Sport) has announced that these Connection Vouchers will cover set-up and installation fees ranging from £250 to £3,000. This is exclusively for companies with less than 250 employees and turnovers less than £40 million who are looking to get some superfast broadband action. 

Urban Broadband Fund vouchers released to Belfast, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Manchester and Salford

The ISPs offering services under the Connected Vouchers scheme are:

Novosco The Loop Optimity
Eclipse Internet Connexin eXwavia
Chain Telecom Entanet Halstone Mobile & Technology
Zen Internet ITS Technology Group Atlas Communications 
Rainbow Communications Concept Solutions People Next Connex
Talk Talk Business Nettech UK FastNet International
Hyperoptic Spectrum Internet Bluenowhere
Keycom Virgin Media Business Origin Broadband

Read Recombu Digital’s guide to Super-Connected Cities and the Urban Broadband FundHyperoptic has announced that it will be supporting the voucher scheme in three of the four test cities – Cardiff, Edinburgh and Manchester, where its FTTP (fibre to the premises) networks are available. Hyperoptic will offer businesses a 100Mbps leased line service from as little as £250/month. 

Dana Tobak, managing director of Hyperoptic, said: “Thousands of small and medium sized businesses across the UK currently suffer from being unable to access adequate broadband speeds.

“Instead, they are languishing in the slow lane with broadband which claims to be ‘superfast’ but is actually anything but. This can have a major impact on business performance, with unreliable speeds directly hindering their growth. 
“Hyperoptic already offers ground-breaking fibre broadband technology to businesses in London. We are involved in the UBF to support the Government to break down barriers to true hyperfast broadband in other UK cities, and in doing so, enable small businesses to fast-track their business growth.” 

Originally the UBF would have given local authorities cash to spend on plugging urban not spots. Strict competition rules on state aid meant that this could not happen and parts of the £150 million fund would instead be reserved for public WiFi and a voucher scheme for businesses. 

Zen Internet provides services via the BT Openreach network, with both FTTC (fibre to the cabinet) at up to 80Mbps across more than two-thirds of the UK, and FTTP at up to 330Mbps in a much smaller footprint, as well as leased lines and ADSL backup.

Gary Hough, regulatory manager at Zen Internet, said: ‘We are pleased to have become an approved supplier to the Broadband Delivery UK vouchers schememarket test.

“Fibre is the future and feedback from our customers confirms that fibre optic broadband performance transforms their Internet experience, not just by making their service faster, but by enabling them to try new applications that might previously have been out of reach.

We believe that we have the strongest portfolio of fibre optic broadband services in the UK, having worked with BT since the initial fibre optic broadband trials.”

Image: gordonplant/Flickr



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