Virgin Media Business has urged the Government to reintroduce its SCC (Super Connected Cities) voucher programme, and announced its own programme to help small businesses get broadband.
A Huge Help to Businesses
The SCC Voucher scheme ran from December 2013, offering small businesses in 50 cities across the UK grants of up to £3,000 to cover broadband installation costs. It was part of the Government’s commitment to delivering superfast broadband and better mobile connectivity to the nation, organised by Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK), a unit within the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.
Although uptake was initially slow, the campaign gathered momentum, and the £40m Government challenge fund used to fund the project since April 2015 has been allocated far more rapidly than predicted, resulting in its closure on 12th October. The Connection Vouchers website states: ‘This fund is now fully committed and the Scheme has closed to new applicants.’
One of the many registered suppliers involved in the scheme was Virgin Media Business. Its Director of Small Business, Mike Smith, said: “We’ve connected thousands of small businesses with the support of the Super Connected Cities voucher scheme which was a huge success to help businesses get online. Given the extraordinary take-up among businesses and healthy competition between hundreds of connectivity suppliers, we strongly encourage the Government to reintroduce the scheme.”
Virgin Media Offer Free Small Business Broadband Installation
In the meantime, Virgin Media Businesses has committed to trial its own scheme for installing small business broadband in the same SCC cities where it has a network. As almost 86% of the installations it carried out under the SCC programme were for less than £1,000, the company has committed to cover up to £1,000 of installation costs of its 50Mb and 152Mb products (broadband only or bundles)for new business customers.
“We’re pleased to launch this exclusive trial for the UK’s small businesses to help them get online and thrive with the fastest available broadband,” said Mike Smith. “We know one of the biggest challenges facing small businesses is upfront costs, including for the likes of broadband.”
Virgin Media Business’s recent report, The UK s £92 billion Digital Opportunity, estimated that digital technologies could boost the UK economy by 2.5% of GDP (or £92 billion), as well as creating over a million new jobs across all industries over the next two years.
Over the coming years, Virgin Media is investing £3 billion in its infrastructure to bring the fastest broadband to nearly 17 million UK premises homes and businesses. It has the UK’s only nationwide fibre optic network, carrying 35% of all business broadband traffic, and is already able to reach 85% of businesses in the UK.