Connection vouchers worth up to £3,000 are now available to small and medium-size businesses across Bradford and Leeds to cover the cost of upgrading to superfast broadband, offering Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) the opportunity to transform the way they do business.
Funded through the Government’s ‘Superconnected Cities’ programme, the connection vouchers are available to companies in the two cities, commencing 17th February.
The programme is being delivered locally by Leeds City Council and Bradford Metropolitan District Council and is part of a national programme, designed to deliver a step change in broadband connection speeds and reliability.
Businesses can apply online for a connection voucher via a dedicated website (www.superconnectedleedsbradford.co.uk). The vouchers cover the installation cost up to a maximum of £3,000 with on-going monthly costs being paid for by the business.
The programme isn’t linked to any particular technology – wireless, fibre, cable, mobile and other types of connection are all covered by the programme. Provided the business is an SME based in Leeds or Bradford, they should be eligible for a connection voucher.
Cllr David Green, Leader of Bradford Council, speaking ahead of the launch of the Superconnected Leeds Bradford programme, said: “Access to high speed broadband is crucial in a competitive global market and that is the environment our businesses now work and operate in.
“Securing an upgraded connection enables companies to share large data files and communicate more effectively with each other and with their customers. Ultimately it helps companies to grow and prosper which in turn generates more jobs for local people and this benefits us all.”
Cllr Richard Lewis, Leeds City Council’s lead member for development and the economy, said: “The average UK business will need 10 times their current bandwidth within the next five years. This means that high speed broadband is becoming an absolute necessity for businesses. Support for SME businesses in our two cities is welcome and will help significantly improve productivity and competitiveness, in turn helping to grow the local economy.”
Mark Goldstone of Leeds, York and North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce said the latest Chamber research showed 92 per cent of companies see broadband as critical to their business: “Broadband is now considered by many to be as vital as electricity and running water and access to a high quality service is one of the key factors when companies look to expand or locate.
“High speed broadband is game changing and allows companies to think and operate differently. Technologies such as cloud computing, for example, allow for more efficient use of resources to store and access data, freeing up capital which otherwise would have been invested in expensive server hardware and associated costs.”
Simon Barrett of Bradford-based games development firm Four Door Lemon, said: “High speed internet is vital to our business. In a digital industry, deliveries to our customers – be it gamers or other businesses – are completely dependent on the speed of our connection to deliver updates.
“With quicker connections we can iterate faster when making improvements and adjustments to our products and therefore increase our productivity and profit. This scheme is a very welcome benefit to companies in Leeds and Bradford and will help us be more competitive in the global market we operate in.”