The Superconnected Cities programme, which awarded connection vouchers worth up to £3,000 for businesses to upgrade to superfast broadband, officially closed on Monday 16 November following unprecedented demand and news that funding available is fully committed.
The team which manages the programme has emphasised that businesses already awarded a connection voucher will have until 31st March 2016 to get connected and receive their funding.
In total, 741 SMEs across South Yorkshire secured Connection Voucher grants as part of the project, which was part of a nationwide programme to boost high-speed internet connectivity among small and medium-sized businesses.
Natalie Ward, Superfast South Yorkshire Programme Manager, explains: “Businesses clearly want to take up faster broadband services and this fantastic opportunity has enabled that to happen. In some cases businesses wouldn’t have been able to afford an upgrade to a faster connection without the grant.
“This is a fantastic boost for the South Yorkshire economy and with the roll out plans that Superfast South Yorkshire have in place for the next two years the region will continue to become an even more attractive place to live and work.”
£40 million was allocated to the scheme nationally in April 2015, and that fund has been fully spent in just over 6 months, with more than £1 million of the funding snapped up by South Yorkshire alone.
Doncaster based business HELM, which is a supportive workspace for early stage businesses, start-ups and entrepreneurs, upgraded to superfast broadband with the assistance of the connection vouchers scheme. Co-Founder Liam Swift of HELM, notes: “HELM could only become a reality following the upgrade to a connection appropriate for multiple business users in one space; and has made it possible to now realise our vision.”
KAT Communications provided the connection and Managing Director Anthony Temperton, was delighted that KAT could assist HELM: “I love what they are doing here at HELM and it’s great that the connection upgrade can now act a platform here for accessing further digital services such as Video Conferencing, Cloud Storage & VoIP.”