Through the UK Government’s “Super Connected Cities” programme, companies with less than 250 employees are eligible to apply for Connection vouchers worth £3,000 (no longer valid) to equip their businesses with high speed connectivity. Now offered in twenty-two cities, it is available until at least March 2015. The aim is to guarantee 95 per cent of the UK can receive broadband speeds of at least 24Mbps by 2017.
Quite obviously businesses of all sizes need superior connectivity to function and compete, however a recent report from The Federation of Small Businesses contained some startling findings. For example, 45,000 businesses still use dial up internet and 14 per cent assume reliable, fast broadband is rarely available. This, it suggests, is the business owner’s key perceived barrier to growth. For many of these companies the voucher scheme must seem too good to be true.
There are good reasons for that scepticism. Other SMB support programmes like Funding for Lending and the Enterprise Finance Guarantee Scheme, became renowned for promising a lot but delivering very little.
So, it’s the duty of the Government and businesses enrolled in the scheme to quell this perception and let SMBs know how easy it is to tap into these funds. There are no catches; the money is available to any qualifying business.
We know UK businesses can succeed on a global scale; while some lack access to quality connectivity, they don’t lack potential. We see it in London’s Tech City, the M4 corridor and Cambridge’s Silicon Fen. Colt is working alongside many of them, helping reveal that access to quality connectivity isn’t out of their reach. These urban clusters of innovative digital SMBs exemplify what can be achieved given the right opportunities.
Colt specialises in creating super connected buildings (SCB) with over 20,000 (2,616 in London) fibre connected buildings already.
Recently analysis of 462 Tech City member sites highlighted Colt to have fibre within 30mtr of over 50% of sites – giving direct access to Colt’s un-paralleled datacentre, cloud and media network across 22 European countries and beyond.
Should enough businesses in each of the twenty-two cities sign-up, the potential for regional powerhouses grows significantly. By connecting our growing companies and local business hubs we are investing in a secure and strong economy, helping drive economic and business growth and creating jobs in the process.
If they need evidence they need only look at Bristol, a city where businesses, many of which already utilise the Colt metro network, have excelled. You need fast, reliable connections to do business in and between major international cities; Colt’s network throughout the city ensures companies joining the scheme in Bristol can have this.
The UK Government asked Colt to join the programme because we offer businesses two key things. One, a physical wholly-owned infrastructure that extends across Europe, tapping into more cities and data centres than any other provider, and two, choice. We give businesses options they didn’t know they had.
Because our infrastructure extends across Europe, we are in an excellent place to serve organisations joining the scheme. We already serve over 20,000 business buildings; any company that signs up will reap the benefits of an international business-grade network. What’s more, existing Colt customers can upgrade their broadband for free, subject to a maximum subsidy of £3000.
This article was originally published on our Corporate blog on September 22nd. We are republishing this on Engage as we know how important connectivity is to our SME audience.