Connecting Ashford businesses – broadband grants now available
Ashford businesses in the urban area can now apply for grants of up to £3,000 to get better broadband following the news that Kent has been included in the £40 million national Broadband Connection Voucher Scheme.
Cllr Jane Martin, portfolio holder for information and communications, said: “This is really good news for Ashford businesses and another big step in getting better broadband connections across the borough.
“The vouchers are not just for those businesses struggling with connectivity, they can be used to boost superfast broadband to even greater speeds or they can help those businesses who are struggling to access better services.
“It is available on a first come first serve basis so my advice to Ashford businesses is boost your bottom line – apply for your broadband grant now.”
The scheme, funded by government and administered by Kent County Council, covers the costs of upgrading the connection allowing businesses to start reaping the benefits of faster speeds and better connectivity.
The grant pays for the installation costs, while businesses pay any VAT charged and the monthly line rental to the service provider.
The scheme is part of the government’s Broadband Delivery UK and is a national programme running across 50 cities offering a total of £40 million.
This comes in addition to the £50 million of funding BDUK, KCC and BT has made available in Kent to support the wider community access better broadband, including businesses and residents in a rural area.
The benefits of a faster, better broadband can be felt in numerous ways, whether that be the time taken to upload or download large files to backing up data online or using cloud-based software and video calls.
Kent County Council Leader Paul Carter said: “Having faster and better broadband is essential these days for businesses wanting to boost their bottom line. It also allows business owners to compete with web-only retailers.
“Utilising the internet can help companies grow and access new markets with better communication with customers and suppliers. You will be able to send or upload large files quickly and reliably and future-proof your business for the digital challenges of tomorrow.”
The funding is available on a first come, first served basis, so, although it runs until March 31 next year, it may close early if the funding is committed.
Cllr Carter added: “I would urge everyone in the business community to take up this offer and allow your business to grow and flourish and ensure Kent remains the best place in the country to own and run a business.”
Digital Economy Minister Ed Vaizey added: “Our broadband connection voucher scheme is a huge success and has helped more than 25,000 UK small businesses so far.
“I’m delighted that Kent is now joining the scheme and encourage all eligible businesses to apply as soon as possible so they don’t miss out on this fantastic offer.”