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Welsh Businesses Offered GBP10K Ultrafast 100Mb Broadband Vouchers

Friday, November 21st, 2014 (11:26 am) - Score 780

The Welsh Government has announced the launch of a new Ultrafast Connectivity Voucher scheme that will provide assistance of up to £10,000 towards the capital costs of helping firms in Wales to install a broadband service offering speeds of more than 100Mbps (Megabits per second), albeit only applicable to businesses in Enterprise and Local Growth Zones.

Until now the only other alternative was the Connection Voucher scheme, which forms part of the central Government’s £150m Urban Broadband Fund (“Super-Connected Cities“) and offers grants worth between £200 and £3,000 to help small and medium sized businesses install a “superfast broadband” (30Mbps+) service in any of 22 cities across the United Kingdom.

But the above solution has suffered from low take-up (here), with many complaining that businesses were unaware of the offer and £3,000 couldn’t always cover the cost of getting a proper dedicated leased line installed. So instead Wales has setup an improved alternative, which is “suitable for medium and larger businesses or smaller businesses with large data requirements which require greater speeds“.

The Ultrafast Connectivity Vouchers, as well as being worth up to £10k, also work in a slightly different way from the UBF and will provide up to 100% of funding on the first £3,000, then 50% between £3,001 and £17,000 and no further funding for costs of £17,001 and above.

Julie James, Welsh Deputy Minister for Skills and Technology, said:

There is no question that first class internet connectivity is paramount for all businesses from the smallest micro-business to the largest multinational.

The speeds provided by superfast broadband will be enough for most SMEs, but for some businesses more capacity is required. Ultrafast speeds exceeding 100 Mbps are particularly suitable for larger businesses and those which use a large amount of data. The significant initial costs of having ultrafast broadband speeds, particularly in rural areas, can be a barrier for some businesses.

The Ultrafast Connectivity Voucher will remove that cost barrier, and make reaching ultrafast speeds much easier. In line with our economic priorities the voucher scheme will initially be available in most Enterprise and Local Growth Zones.

Along with Superfast Cymru this represents another piece in the jigsaw in making Wales one of the most connected countries in the world.”

Further details can be found on this Ultrafast Connectivity Voucher page, which also clarifies that Ultrafast Broadband should be defined as at least 100Mbps download speeds and at least 30Mbps upload speeds with little or no contention. In particular we note the Eligibility Criteria, which includes a few familiar caveats and also mentions coverage.

1. The business premises must be located in one of the following areas:

• Teifi Valley Local Growth Zone (Teifi Valley Local Growth Zone boundaries are defined by ward boundaries)
Aberteifi/Cardigan-Mwldan Aberteifi/
Cardigan-Rhyd-y-Fuwch Aberteifi/
Capel Dewi
Llandysul Town
Llanfihangel Ystrad
St. Dogmaels

• Powys Local Growth Zone (Powys Local Growth Zone boundary is defined by the county boundary of Powys)
• Haven Waterway Enterprise Zone
• Anglesey Enterprise Zone
• Deeside Enterprise Zone
• Ebbw Vale Enterprise Zone
• Snowdonia Enterprise Zone
• St Athan Enterprise Zone

* Businesses within Cardiff Central Enterprise Zone are not currently eligible to apply for the Ultrafast Connectivity Voucher (i.e. already covered by the other Connection Voucher scheme).

Leave a Comment
3 Responses
  1. Avatar DTMark says:

    Ten grand to install a broadband service. You’d think these were greenfield sites. Which sadly from a modern tech perspective, they are.

    How can these placed be “Enterprise and Local Growth Zones” with no modern broadband infrastructure available to tenants, necessitating those sort of build charges?

    In contrast however, if you’re the sort of medium to large enterprise that needs excellent connectivity and you base it in the middle of nowhere then don’t be surprised that it costs.

    “Middle of nowhere” = the only premise within ten miles. Not “the business park in the town”.

  2. Avatar Neil says:

    DTMark – you’re missing the point, slightly – the voucher scheme is intended to cover the installation of a service that provides, at minimum, 30Mbps upload speed. Fibre is being rolled out as standard (in Wales), but doesn’t come anywhere near 30Mbps upload.

  3. Avatar Rob says:

    My business is based on the Deeside Industrial Park and the broadband availability is shocking. There are 100’s of business here that would love FTTC and buy it now but sadly it is not available. We don’t even have ADSL2.
    The WAG says because we have Fibrespeed on the park (very expensive) then we will only get FTTC as a backfill project which will be 2016 I think.
    Very sad to market Deeside as an enterprise zone without fast broadband.

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