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Superconnected Cities Scheme provides grants to 14,000 SMEs

The UK government’s Superconnected Cities Programme has delivered broadband grants to more than 14,000 small businesses, according to new figures.

Small businesses have received financial support of up to £3,000 each in a bid to help the UK’s leading cities develop their digital infrastructure to remain competitive on a global scale.

The grant offers up to £3,000 towards broadband installation costs while many firms are also opting to apply as a group to connect larger or more complicated business premises. Once everything is installed, businesses are subsequently liable for line rental and VAT.

Earlier this month, the Federation of Small Businesses led the calls for the new Government to back SMEs by investing more in first-rate broadband for its 200,000-plus members.

In addition to broadband grants, free public Wi-Fi has now been installed in more than 1,000 buildings across the UK, as well as being made available on buses, trams and trains in many of the UK’s major towns and cities.

Sajid Javid, Culture Secretary, said: “It’s vital that our cities have the digital infrastructure like super-fast broadband and Wi-Fi in place to deal with the demands of the digital age.

“Our investment has delivered a welcome boost to the local economies, and is all part of our long term economic plan.”

Some excellent examples of the good work the programme is doing include an internet exchange in Cardiff, supporting firms and infrastructure across South Wales; high-tech digital clusters on the south coast for Brighton-based firms, and a £1m cloud computing centre for firms in Newcastle.

The broadband element of the scheme was originally scheduled to finish on 31 March 2015, but has been so popular that it has now been extended and offered to an additional 28 cities across the UK.

Image: Antony Howard

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