A government voucher scheme that lets start-ups claim for discounts on superfast broadband is being extended.
Originally due to end in March 2015, the Super Connected Cities fund is getting a cash injection of £40 million and extended by a year.
The scheme, currently available in 22 cities, will also be rolled out to new locations – although the UK Government hasn’t confirmed exactly where yet.
The 2014 National Infrastructure Plan states: “the government will provide up to £40m to extend the SME connection voucher scheme to March 2016 and to more cities; vouchers will be available on a first come, first served basis.”
The extension of the deadline follows urging from culture secretary Sajid Javid for businesses to sign up. So far the scheme, launched in 2013, has allowed over 3,000 small to medium enterprises to get superfast broadband from a range of ISPs.
The voucher scheme is currently live in Aberdeen, Belfast, Birmingham, Bradford, Brighton & Hove, Bristol, Cambridge, Cardiff, Coventry, Derby, Derry/Londonderry, Edinburgh, London, Leeds, Manchester and Newcastle, Newport, Oxford, Perth, Portsmouth, Salford, and York
The vouchers are designed to cover for the installation of next-gen broadband services which can often be prohibitively expensive for start-ups and small enterprises. A full list of the services available to companies in the current 22 cities is available here.
Companies who want to take advantage of the scheme may want to do so before the next election. A future Labour government, which may want to roll out gigabit broadband to everyone, could divert the extra £40 million into funding this dream.