There’s still time to boost your company’s broadband connection with a little help from the government but don’t delay, the funds are running out fast.
The government-funded Connection Voucher scheme for 2015/16 has already benefited 40,000 small and medium-sized businesses in the UK, including around 1,600 in the South East.
But funds aren’t ring-fenced for specific areas. So companies in Brighton, Crawley, Haywards Heath and Chichester should apply as soon as possible to ensure the grants are still available before the 31 March 2016 deadline.
High-speed broadband for South East firms
The grant will save you the £3,000 installation fee for a leased line. A leased line provides a guaranteed high-speed connection which is essential for growing businesses.
Before the voucher scheme, many companies in West Sussex, Kent and other counties were reluctant to upgrade to a leased line because of the installation fee. The £3,000 grant significantly reduces the annual cost in the first year.
“A leased line is like having your own private toll road free of other traffic,” explains Gary Jowett from Computer & Network Consultants in Brighton. “By contrast, the public internet is a contended connection. Just like a motorway, when the road is clear you get from A to B quickly. But when more people come online it can be like the M25 on a busy Friday evening.”
Why is a fast connection so important?
Today, the way most organisations operate and serve customers is becoming increasingly dependent upon the internet.
For example, an expanding recruitment agency needs to give candidates and employers fast access to its website 24/7 or a car dealership wants people to view its cars or book an annual service online.
This is why obtaining voucher scheme funding should be a priority for many south east businesses. An unreliable internet connection is like having a dirty shop window and an entry door that sticks when customers try to open it.
If your customers and business partners often see a cog wheel on their computer screen going round and round when they try to use your website, they will report that bad experience to others. Your employees will also work less efficiently and you won’t be able to place orders with business partners so easily.
Day by day, your business will become less efficient and less competitive. Order volumes will reduce and slicker operators will eat in to your market share.