The government has confirmed £100m of funding to help small businesses connect to faster broadband.
Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Belfast, Salford, Portsmouth, Cardiff, Derby, Bristol, Edinburgh, Newport, London and Manchester will be able to apply for up to £3,000 to cover the costs of installing superfast broadband to their offices to help companies boost their business.
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Prime Minister David Cameron said: “Up to £3,000 of broadband vouchers for small businesses in these cities is not only a massive boost for growth in the UK, but also has the potential to bring China to Cardiff, Brazil to Bristol and the Emirates to Edinburgh in an increased export market.
“As part of our economic plan, I want to give our small businesses every possible advantage to compete in the global race – and also the flexibility to locate or set up right across the UK. To do that we are working on a complete overhaul of the UK’s infrastructure; high-speed broadband is a vital part of this.”
The money will come from the previously announced Urban Broadband Fund, which pledged £150m to creating a number of "super connected cities" across the UK.
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The other 12 cities that form part of the scheme – Birmingham, Newcastle, Leeds & Bradford, Aberdeen, Brighton & Hove, Cambridge, Coventry, Derry, Oxford, Perth, Portsmouth and York – will be offered the same broadband connection vouchers from early 2014 after a trial in five cities over the summer was deemed a success by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.
Culture Minister Maria Miller added: “Britain is undergoing a broadband transformation and businesses up and down the country will benefit from the millions of pounds we’ve set aside. We want Britain’s digital infrastructure to be the best in the world and having faster and more reliable broadband will be key in driving growth.”
The full list of criteria for applying to the scheme is here, but caveats include a willingness to sign up to a minimum six-month contract and the connection cost must be over £250.