Reading-based businesses can now apply for cash grants for the installation of superfast broadband.
The grants, which are worth up to £3,000, have been made available through the Broadband Connection Voucher Scheme run by the government. It is estimated that around 50 businesses in the region have already taken advantage of the scheme.
Businesses that take advantage of faster broadband can offer a better service to their customers, better file-sharing, and can reduce the cost of both software and hardware. Faster business broadband can also improve the way in which businesses communicate with each other and make video-conferencing easier.
The vouchers are available to small- and medium-sized businesses, registered charities, sole traders and social enterprises. These have to be based in the Reading borough and the vouchers are available on a first-come, first-served basis. The national fund for the voucher scheme is worth £40m.
Jo Lovelock, the leader of Reading Borough Council, said that the funding has been secured to enable companies to have the fastest business broadband possible installed. She added that the initial take-up of the scheme has been good and is encouraging other businesses to sign up to avoid disappointment, as there is a time limit for applications.
To qualify, the installation has to cost in excess of £100 and has to be for a business premises; however, an application can be made for a connection to a residential property if the business is run from a home. The contract with the supplier has to be for a minimum of six months and the installation has to be an upgrade to the current services.