Small business in the Mid and East Antrim Borough Council area can now apply for a ‘Connection Voucher’ grant of up to £3,000 to upgrade to a faster, more reliable internet connection.
The grant covers installation costs of upgrading a broadband connection. Businesses just pay any VAT charged and the monthly line rental to their preferred service provider. The monthly costs vary by provider and package, but a third of businesses are paying only £40 per month or less for superfast broadband connection of up to 100MBs.
With faster, better broadband, businesses can grow new markets through better communication with customers and suppliers, increase security through fast and secure back-up of data, increase productivity, improve customer service by sending/uploading large files quickly and reliably, and improve response times and customer satisfaction ratings.
This is a Government-backed scheme worth around £40m and has launched in 50 cities across the UK. Local Larne business-woman, Mariann Casagrande, owner of Caffé Spice, was the first local business in Larne to benefit from the voucher scheme.
She said: “The whole process was very easy and fast. Also the Belfast City Council Connection Voucher people were extremely helpful and efficient with the application form as were Rainbow Communications - the company who installed the system. Iit took about six weeks in total from the start to finish. The availability of fast broadband will be very beneficial to my business.”
For further details and to check eligibility, log on to www.connectionvouchers.co.uk or call 0800 587 4695.