How do I tell if this offer to get government to pay for business broadband is genuine?

I recently signed up to the HMRC advisory service and this morning received the e-mail below. Being a trusting individual I did NOT click on anything. Instead I visited the HMRC site on how to check whether a communication from them is genuine. I was none the wiser. However, being both paranoid and interested, I tried to find another way of getting the details. Eventually I found my way in via the “Business is Great” website although the Broadband Voucher scheme is not among those promoted on the home page.

I still do not now whether the original e-mail from HMRC was genuine but, it if was, I deduce that HMRC is more concerned to help SMEs get good broadband access than Gov.UK is concerned to promote either good security practice or the voucher scheme.

Rant over. This is a great scheme. It needs to be extended so that every rural business stuck with crapband (not just those in Wales) can use it to pay for a satellite service. Meanwhile inner city businesses in the areas covered should use it to apply for for a fibre connection: there is a routine for vouchers to be collated by alternative suppliers if BT or Virgin will not offer you anything other than a prohibitively expensive leased line. Those in areas that are not yet covered, where businesses are stuck with a choice between crapband and expensive leased lines, should be contacting their constituency MP and parliamentary candidates to lobby either for access or to work to make it easier for alternative suppliers to compete to meet your needs.

But be warned, the budget is fixed and its first come first served. We also need to get action on opening up the supply of business broadband to all. I therfore take this opportunity to remind you that the deadline for the consultation on the Ofcom Draft Annual Plan is next Thursday. The good news is that Ofcom has finally guiven priority to looking at the business broadband. There is much to do and you have to get into the appendices, with references to the work of the IETF on inter-operability standards, to realise that Ofcom is now serious about looking at UK telecoms in global context.

Meanwhile, if you are among those stuck with crapband – do take a look at the voucher scheme. If you are not covered, take a look at how many others, locally, are in the same position. If there are enough of you, one of the new generation of the alternative network providers (see the list of those participating in the scheme) might be able to serve you at an attractive cost anyway.   

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Hello Employer,

Connection Vouchers


We’ve got up to £3,000 for you to upgrade your business’s broadband – it’s up to you to apply for it.

Find out now if you are eligible for up to £3,000 to cover the installation costs of upgrading to a faster and more reliable connection for your business. You could get a fibre optic, cable or wireless broadband connection among other options.  Most businesses pay nothing but VAT and their standard monthly charges.

Thousands of businesses in the 22 Super Connected Cities Programme are already benefitting from the scheme.  By upgrading, you could:

  • Do things faster – increase your business’s productivity,
  • Improve customer service,
  • Access new markets using video conferencing.

Please visit our website to find out if you are eligible and choose from a number of pre-defined options.

To check if you are eligible for a Growth Voucher with a grant of up to £2,000 towards the cost of expert advice, apply here. To see the full offer of government support for small businesses, click here.

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Business should pay for their own broadband. Why does it always seem to be the taxpayer who foots the bill?

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