Home
 » ISP News » 
Sponsored

Questions for Low Uptake of UK Business Broadband Connection Vouchers

Thursday, May 1st, 2014 (9:35 am) - Score 591
cityscape-uk

The Government’s Connection Vouchers scheme, which is part of the £150m “Super-Connected Cities” initiative to help SME businesses install superfast broadband (30Mbps+), has been criticised for low uptake in Oxford, Portsmouth and Brighton. Curiously one of the reasons given is that businesses don’t need the speeds it offers.

The voucher scheme offers grants worth between £200 and £3,000 +vat to individual businesses (i.e. any SME of up to 249 employees with a turnover no greater than £40 million per annum) across 22 of the UK’s cities, which is designed to help the firms get connected to a superfast Internet connection.

So far the Government states that hundreds of applications have been submitted across the United Kingdom, which appears to be supported by the results from last years limited trial (here) where a total of 690 applications were submitted.

However the same does not hold true for every area and a report on the BBC today notes that just 2 applications have been submitted by businesses in Oxford and 4 in Brighton, both of which have admittedly only been running the scheme for around a month. Meanwhile Portsmouth’s scheme, which has been online since the end of last year, received just 4 applications.

Bob Bradley, Oxfordshire Chamber of Commerce, said:

There aren’t that many companies that are big enough to need this sort of speed – it’s somewhat confused and too late really.”

Mr Bradley’s comment, which is somewhat lacking in clarification (30Mbps+ isn’t exactly anything special these days), would appear to be at odds with the various opinions and surveys distributed by organisations such as the Federation of Small Businesses and Institute of Directors (example); both of which frequently call for better connectivity.

On the other hand many urban areas already have access to good connections, which is one of the reasons why businesses move into such locations in the first place, and this might in turn limit the uptake. However experiences do vary and in some areas there is a clear lack of better connectivity.

At the same time it’s also conceivable that the voucher scheme hasn’t received enough local promotion or that businesses are forgetting they don’t have to pick a 1Gbps line and can instead take a slower / cheaper option if required, which is one of the reasons why the minimum grant level was recently reduced to £200 (here).

Leave a Comment
4 Responses
  1. DTMark says:

    A business who came to rely on the internet might well have already forked out big money years ago to have BT or Virgin install a bespoke connection so the voucher scheme is of no value to them.

    Although you do still see posts from people surprised that they’re in a business district and all that’s on offer is a few meg ADSL (forgetting that this is Britain, seemingly) unless they’re willing to part with ludicrous amount of money, in the main, I’d think most start-ups are going to pick somewhere that has connectivity to start with.

    More agile companies that do not have e.g. heavy plant type tech (which arguably do not tend to be the types of businesses that need very fast connectivity) can “just move”. Has always had to be this way.

    An approach which encouraged competition on a larger scale, not just piecemeal with “vouchers for each customer” might have led to alt nets building out into, in this case, business areas, positioned to take business away from BT, and would have forced BT into fibre based solutions (I don’t mean VDSL) if they were to avoid losing customers completely (leased line > BT FTTP would be preferable to BT than leased line > alt net FTTP) bringing costs down for business and bringing more options.

    But, why stop at business areas 😉

  2. gerarda says:

    Maybe Mr Bradley is correct in saying that the system is confused. Are there any even business class FTTC tariffs that require a £200 installation fee to upgrade? if not then the scheme can only be applicable to either new businesses or ones looking for FTTP type speeds which will probably already either have it, or be contracted to a leased line or similar solution.

  3. As a provider under the Voucher scheme we see the primary eligible products as leased line, bonded FTTC and WiMax.

    Real FTTP is so scarce as to be irrelevant with almost no channels to market.

    FoD is perfect for the voucher scheme but until Openreach move it from Early Market Deployment to General Availability it will remain difficult to purchase.

    EFM and Satellite have the right economic model for vouchers but are ineligible as they fail to offer the “upgradeable to 30Mb” criteria

    Regular FTTC and Virgin (DOCSIS) struggle to justify the £200 minimum voucher value within the rules of the scheme.

    Personally I think the money would have been better spent by incentivising BT to enable 100% of the cabs on enabled exchanges, both urban and rural.

    1. JNeuhoff says:

      “Personally I think the money would have been better spent by incentivising BT to enable 100% of the cabs on enabled exchanges, both urban and rura”

      I have to disagree, NO public money should be just given away to BT for no ROI. And NO public money should be wasted on transitional or yesterday’s copper-wire based services.

      A better approach would have been long-term investment loans to network companies, so that whole business parks could be upgraded to proper fibre-optic networks, or appropriate long-distance symmetrical wireless broadband coverage.

Comments are closed.

Comments RSS Feed

Javascript must be enabled to post (most browsers do this automatically)

Privacy Notice: Please note that news comments are anonymous, which means that we do NOT require you to enter any real personal details to post a message. By clicking to submit a post you agree to storing your comment content, display name, IP, email and / or website details in our database, for as long as the post remains live.

Only the submitted name and comment will be displayed in public, while the rest will be kept private (we will never share this outside of ISPreview, regardless of whether the data is real or fake). This comment system uses submitted IP, email and website address data to spot abuse and spammers. All data is transferred via an encrypted (https secure) session.

NOTE 1: Sometimes your comment might not appear immediately due to site cache (this is cleared every few hours) or it may be caught by automated moderation / anti-spam.

NOTE 2: Comments that break our rules, spam, troll or post via known fake IP/proxy servers may be blocked or removed.
Cheapest Superfast ISPs
  • Hyperoptic £20.00 (*22.00)
    Speed 50Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: None
  • Plusnet £21.95 (*36.52)
    Speed 36Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: £50 Reward Card
  • Vodafone £22.00 (*25.00)
    Speed 35Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: None
  • NOW £23.00 (*32.00)
    Speed 36Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: None
  • TalkTalk £23.00 (*29.95)
    Speed 38Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: None
Large Availability | View All
New Forum Topics
»
Testing: EEs 4G - MVNOs
Author: Bubblesthefish6
»
30 days with Three 5G
Author: Lucian
»
»
Smarty App
Author: clivejo
»
British fibre networks/
Author: paulandailz
Cheapest Ultrafast ISPs
  • Community Fibre £25.00 (*29.50)
    Speed: 300Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: Double Speed Boost
  • Hyperoptic £25.00 (*35.00)
    Speed: 150Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: None
  • Virgin Media £26.00 (*52.00)
    Speed: 108Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: None
  • Vodafone £26.00 (*29.00)
    Speed: 100Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: None
  • Gigaclear £29.00 (*49.00)
    Speed: 300Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: None
Large Availability | View All
The Top 20 Category Tags
  1. FTTP (3378)
  2. BT (2975)
  3. Politics (1887)
  4. Building Digital UK (1884)
  5. FTTC (1869)
  6. Openreach (1792)
  7. Business (1635)
  8. Mobile Broadband (1437)
  9. Statistics (1383)
  10. FTTH (1362)
  11. 4G (1247)
  12. Fibre Optic (1149)
  13. Wireless Internet (1135)
  14. Virgin Media (1132)
  15. Ofcom Regulation (1124)
  16. Vodafone (820)
  17. EE (811)
  18. TalkTalk (747)
  19. 5G (729)
  20. Sky Broadband (727)
Promotion
Helpful ISP Guides and Tips
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
Sponsored

Copyright © 1999 to Present - ISPreview.co.uk - All Rights Reserved - Terms , Privacy and Cookie Policy , Links , Website Rules , Contact