A hundred small and medium-sized businesses across Tees Valley have already benefited from a voucher scheme to help turbo-charge their businesses communications through better broadband links.
Eligible organisations, across Darlington, Hartlepool, Middlesbrough, Redcar and Cleveland and Stockton-On-Tees, can apply for a voucher worth up to £3,000, towards the fixed cost of getting better connected.
The vouchers, which are designed to cover the cost of installing the next generation of broadband services, are backed financially by government as part of the Business Is Great campaign.
Hartlepool-based company Paul Gough Physio Rooms is just one of the local businesses to see the instant impact the programme can have on developing customer engagement.
Administrator Rebecca Lawson explained: “We used the Connection Voucher for an internal upgrade of our internet network which has enabled a superfast connection to our conference room. We had been experiencing very slow download speeds which was frustrating and incredibly unreliable.
“This upgrade means we can now confidentially speak with our international clients and colleagues via Skype, we can upload videos and tutorials on our website and stay at the forefront of new and exciting communications channels.”
Councillor Charlie Rooney, Executive Member for Regeneration for Middlesbrough Borough Council, the Tees Valley local authority leading on the project, said: “Reliable connectivity and superfast broadband is a fundamental necessity for businesses and our local economy.
“I would urge all eligible companies to apply for a voucher as allowing an organisation to access the latest technology can positively impact on its ability to meet its customer needs and grow the customer base.”
The Connection Voucher, which will open up broadband services capable of delivering 30Mbps or higher, will pay a business between £100 and £3,000 towards the fixed cost of getting connected.
If a business is part of a building or business park and knows of neighbouring businesses that also would like to access the scheme, they can pool their vouchers to obtain a better connection across the whole of the site.
Benefits to business as a result of faster, better broadband include:
• Growing and accessing new markets through better communication with customers and suppliers
• Increasing security through fast secure back-up of data
• Increasing productivity and improving customer service through faster upload and download speeds
• Upgrading your broadband will also help to future-proof your business for the digital challenges of tomorrow
Organisations could qualify if they:
• Are a SME, charity or social enterprise employing less than 249 people or volunteers
• Have a turnover of less than £35.1 million
• Have received less than £140,000 in public grants in the last three years
• The connection will cost more than £100
• Are willing to sign up for a minimum six month contract with their chosen supplier
• The scheme is administered by Go Digital Newcastle on behalf of Tees Valley.