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West Sussex UK Opens Broadband Voucher Scheme for Businesses

Tuesday, October 18th, 2016 (10:38 am) - Score 337
business broadband connection voucher uk

Small and medium sized businesses in West Sussex (England) are being invited to apply for a new voucher scheme, which offers a subsidy of between £1,000 and £3,000 to help local firms get a superfast broadband (30Mbps+) connection installed.

The approach mirrors the central UK Government’s earlier Connection Voucher scheme, which succeeded in helping around 55,000 SMEs to access a superfast broadband service (here) and then came to an end in October 2015 after the funding dried up (here).

Under the new scheme, which aims to run until 1st February 2017 (sooner if the funding dries up), eligible businesses in West Sussex will be able to apply for a voucher to provide capital funding of between £1,000 and £3,000 or up to 40% of the overall project cost, whichever is lower.

However one caveat is that any works undertaken must be completed and paid for before 31st March 2017 to qualify for the grant, which could be a problem if more complicated work is required (longer delays for survey and civil engineering work are sometimes a possibility).

Louise Goldsmith, West Sussex County Council Leader, said:

“This funding is a fantastic opportunity for local businesses to access the latest digital technologies through superfast broadband. I would encourage businesses to find out more and make the most of this scheme.”

It’s unclear precisely how much funding has been allocated to the final scheme (a provisional figure of £225,000 was mooted last year for the pilot), although it’s probably not a huge amount given the fairly short time-scale involved. The funding for the scheme itself is coming from the Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership / Local Growth Deal (details here).

The LEP has recently been meeting with local businesses to discuss the final proposal, which is now live. Today’s news follows last week’s announcement by the West Sussex County Council (here), which proposed a new “Gigabit West Sussex” framework that could help to “bring ultrafast [FTTP/H broadband] to as many parts of the County as possible,” starting with a contract to deploy a new Dark Fibre network in Adur & Worthing.

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Mark Jackson
By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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2 Responses
  1. Hmmm. So this scheme launched 2 months ago and closes for applications 1st Feb with all works to be completed by end of March 2017. Given leased line provisioning times of 3 – 4 months I guess applications need to be submitted and orders placed by the start of December.

    Eligibility is interesting:
    The property to be connected must be outside the planned BDUK Superfast roll out
    and cannot already have a superfast connection.

    So you can have a voucher if you are in an Openreach funded FTTC area but not connected to it but not if the FTTC rollout is funded by BDUK. Weird.

    • Avatar PC1

      Re eligibility – its for State Aid reasons. Public funds should not be used in areas where public funds have already been spent to provide superfast connections. Openreach-funded areas were paid for by BT. Im assuming the main reason why you could not avail of a superfast connection in an FTTC-enabled area is due to the distance of your premises to the relevant cabinet.

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