Broadband boost for businesses in West Yorkshire and York

Businesses in West Yorkshire and York could now benefit from grants of up to £3,000 to get gigabit broadband installed as part of a £2 million trial taking place in four areas around the UK.

Suppliers will be offering vouchers worth between £500 and £3000 each to local businesses which can then be used to pay for the installation of gigabit speed connections.

The aim of the pilots is to encourage the market to extend full fibre infrastructure in the UK by increasing demand and reducing the cost to customers.

The many benefits of a full fibre full fibre gigabit connection include:

  • allowing businesses to upload and download massive files in a matter of seconds
  • enabling widespread use of videoconferencing throughout an organisation
  • providing an unprecedented level of reliability whilst greatly enhancing resilience
  •  future proofing – making sure that businesses have the technology in place to deal with the ever increasing demands for internet speed and connectivity
  • allowing businesses in remote communities to compete on a technologically level playing field with those companies based in major cities who may already have full fibre connectivity

Minister for Digital Matt Hancock said: “Top notch broadband is essential to compete in the modern world. Faster and more reliable connections are transforming the way we live and work, and better broadband supports businesses to grow and become more productive.

“So we’re introducing gigaspeed vouchers to help businesses of Britain get connected to the next generation of broadband technology.

“This is testament to our ambitions for full fibre infrastructure across the UK to underpin our digital economy.”

Four areas across the UK have been carefully selected to test the market conditions and infrastructure conditions we aim to help to create through the wider Local Full Fibre Network programme. The areas are:

  • Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire
  • Bristol, with Bath and North East Somerset
  • Coventry and Warwickshire
  • West Yorkshire Combined Authority (Bradford, Calderdale, Kirklees, Leeds, Wakefield and York)

Kersten England, chief executive Bradford Metropolitan District Council and lead chief executive for Digital and Innovation Leeds City Region, said: “West Yorkshire Combined Authority is very pleased to be working with DCMS to deliver the new Gigabit Voucher Scheme across West Yorkshire and York.

“Over 3,500 SMEs across West Yorkshire and York took advantage of previous funding to upgrade their connections and we know that businesses here want to invest in improving their connectivity.

“As a partnership WYCA want to encourage investment in gigabit capable connectivity to homes and businesses across our wider city region in order to help deliver our productivity and growth ambitions.”

This programme comes as part of the government’s £23 billion National Productivity Investment Fund aimed at improving productivity, which is key to raising living standards.

This fund has already earmarked £740 million specifically for improving Britain’s digital infrastructure, ensuring the UK is match-fit for the future.

The Exchequer secretary to the Treasury, Andrew Jones, MP, said: “We are determined to provide the infrastructure needed for British businesses to thrive and prosper. The rollout of next generation, full-fibre broadband will help do that.

“Lightning internet speeds and unprecedented reliability will boost trade and ensure our firms can connect effortlessly to their customers and suppliers.”


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