Thousands of businesses in the Lothians and Fife are set to benefit from free superfast broadband thanks to a successful scheme led by the City of Edinburgh Council.
The initiative is being delivered until March 2015 by Business Gateway in Edinburgh as part of the UK Government’s £100 million Super Connected Cities programme, and is now being extended to cover organisations located within five miles of the city’s boundaries.
Vouchers are awarded to businesses to help cover the installation costs of connecting to superfast broadband services up to the value of £3,000.
To qualify for a voucher, applicants should be small to medium-sized businesses or third sector organisations located within five miles of Edinburgh, with fewer than 250 employees and a turnover of less than £40m.
Councillor Frank Ross, Convener of the Economy Committee, said: “This is an excellent example of Edinburgh helping small to medium sized businesses in the City Region access funding for a fast broadband connection. We have worked hard to secure this opportunity for local businesses and I would strongly recommend those without a fast connection apply for a voucher as high grade broadband is more reliable, faster and it will make your business more efficient and competitive.”
West Lothian’s Executive Councillor for Development and Transport, Cathy Muldoon, said: “I would encourage any West Lothian companies within a five mile radius of Edinburgh to check if they are eligible for free connection to fast broadband under this scheme, as it can deliver a significant boost to their business. This could include businesses in Livingston, Broxburn, Mid Calder and East Calder.
“West Lothian Council has pledged to invest £2.5 million in next generation broadband by 2017 to ensure the area is one of the best connected areas in the UK.”
Councillor Jim Bryant, Cabinet Member for Economic Development in Midlothian, said: “Reliable and fast broadband is an essential service for Midlothian businesses. We are pleased to be part of the Connected Capital Programme so that businesses within five miles of the Midlothian / City of Edinburgh boundary can take advantage of the voucher scheme incentives and sign up with their preferred supplier from the recommended list. We will continue to work with partners in the Scottish Government on their Step Change, and Community Broadband Scotland, programmes to ensure wider access to high speed broadband in Midlothian.”
Councillor John McMillan, East Lothian Cabinet Spokesperson for Economic Development and Tourism, said: “I hope local businesses will explore this option which offers an opportunity for faster connection. We continue to look at all the options available to connect all businesses and homes in East Lothian to faster broadband and will work with others to bring this about as quickly as we can.”
The scheme is being marketed via the Business Gateway Service in each local authority area. In the meantime, applicants are welcome to contact the project team directly on 0131 469 3990.
Organisations located within five miles of Edinburgh’s council boundaries are encouraged to check their postcode and apply online.
- In the vast majority of cases the voucher should cover the total connection cost but where it doesn’t, businesses will have to cover the difference themselves.
- Edinburgh’s Connected Capital Programme is part of the £100 million Super Connected Cities programme which is being delivered through Broadband Delivery UK which is part of the UK Government’s Department of Culture, Media and Sport.
- Superfast broadband is defined as speed of or over 30 Megabytes per Second (Mbps), Ultrafast is defined 80 to 100+ Mbps.
0131 469 3110
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