The UK Government recently announced the launch of the first stage of a £200 million scheme to help bring the UK’s fastest and most reliable broadband to businesses across the country, by covering the cost of the upgrade required to activate a business speed faster than 100Mbps, and capable of speeds up to 1Gbps.
You can find more details about the scheme and who qualifies here.
The scheme is designed to give small and medium-sized enterprises access to a superfast internet connection upgrade for free, making your business broadband future proof up to 1Gbps at any point in the future.
West Yorkshire is one of the first four local areas to be part of the government scheme, so we asked local institutions and figures for what they think of the scheme, and of the impact of tech and fast broadband on Leeds and West Yorkshire in the next 5 years.
Here's what they said.
Leeds City Council, digitalenterprise.co.uk
“The Gigabit Voucher scheme provides many small and medium-sized businesses the opportunity to in invest in better digital connectivity, which is fast becoming a critical component to growth and development for many businesses” added Muz Mumtaz, Digital Enterprise's Programme Manager.
Leeds City Region and West Yorkshire Combined, the-lep.com
Roger Marsh OBE, Chair of Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership commented, “Leeds City Region has a thriving digital economy worth £6.5 billion, which underpins all of the City Region’s key sectors. With that in mind the increased provision of gigabit broadband for businesses across the region will enable them to remain at the forefront of technology and continue the tradition of invention, innovation and industry which exists here.”
Official Gigabit Supplier, telcom.uk/gigabit-voucher-scheme
Shaun Gibson, CEO and co-founder of Telcom considered the larger nationwide impact that the growth of Leeds on the digital map would have not only on the region, but also on the UK's Tech sector as a whole. West Yorkshire is home to many digital pioneers: "Leeds and West Yorkshire represent England’s fourth largest metropolitan county and one of the largest cities. Its digital sector accounted for £688 million in 2017, and the city is home to big digital players like the local Rockstar Games, as well as Sky Betting and Gaming, Callcredit and NHS Digital. Creating the infrastructure that supports digital innovation instead of lagging behind it will help accelerate Leeds growth as a digital champion and destination."
Leeds Chamber of Commerce
Mark Goldstone, Head of Business Representation & Policy for the West and North Yorkshire Chamber, compared the Gigabit Scheme to the impact of the previous Connected Cities programme, saying how “access to high-quality broadband is essential to the modern, knowledge-intensive economy and is increasingly one of the key deciding factors alongside access to talent when companies look to invest in locations. The changes that are being brought about by industry 4.0 for example, which seeks to create more integrated and efficient manufacturing supply chains, in turn, bringing more proactive and productive customer relationships, rely on the ability to communicate digitally. The use of cloud-based technology is increasingly becoming mainstream and the ongoing, rapid advance of smartphone technology has transformed the way we work. Investment in high-speed broadband will play a role in increasing UK productivity so the Chamber is very pleased that our region is one of the areas selected to promote the Gigabit Voucher Scheme. Having previously been involved in the rollout of the very successful Connected Cities programme we know that good broadband access really makes a difference to companies.”
Department of Digital, Culture, Media & Sport
How long will the new infrastructure last before it becomes obsolete once again?
Justin Leese, who has seen and took part in the evolution of Telecoms over the past 2 decades, highlighted the longer-term impact of the current scheme, which is made to not just upgrade existing connections, but lay down an infrastructure capable of 1Gbps speeds without further hardware upgrades.
"Gigabit speeds and reliable connectivity become more and more important as businesses increase their online presence, move applications into the cloud and have more multimedia rich content. Our Gigabit Voucher Scheme enables Businesses in Leeds to implement future-proof connectivity that can scale as they grow.”
Our team will be in touch to help!