Broadband boost for Preston small businesses

Businesses in Preston will now be able to apply for grants of up to £3,000 each to boost their broadband, the government has announced.

Preston City CouncilThis comes as part of the government’s broadband connection voucher scheme, which is to be extended for a further year. Each voucher covers up to £3,000 of installation costs, but businesses can also apply as a group to connect bigger or more complicated premises. Once installed, businesses pay the usual line rental and VAT.

More than 12,000 vouchers have already been issued to businesses in other cities around the UK. From 1 April this year, small businesses in another 28 cities, including Preston, will be eligible to apply.

Culture secretary Sajid Javid said: “This is fantastic news for Preston, as we know how important a fast broadband connection is for businesses across the UK. We want to make sure that small businesses have the technology they need to compete in the digital age. This scheme will help tens of thousands of small businesses around the UK and I urge all Preston businesses to apply for a voucher from April 2015 onwards.”

The benefits to businesses of improved broadband connections include improving customers’ experience with quicker communication and faster file-sharing, reducing software and hardware costs by helping businesses switch to online data storage solutions and enhancing the way businesses communicate and collaborate through online video conference and cloud-based information sharing.

Leader of Preston City Council, councillor Peter Rankin, added: “Preston’s success is built on business, industry and commerce. Throughout our history Preston has always had the edge or competitive advantage. Three hundred years ago it was canals, 150 years later it was the railways and in the 20th Century it was motorways. Now, in this digital age it is superfast broadband and internet access. “Through this scheme we can bring high speed internet right to people’s offices and business premises. It’s another boost for Preston that helps business to grow, flourish and create jobs.”