3 July 2015

Local businesses are being urged to take advantage of a grant to help them benefit from superfast broadband.

Digital Economy Minister Ed Vaizey MP has visited Sheffield today to see for himself the impact that the scheme is having for businesses in the city.

The scheme offers grants of up to £3,000 each to cover the costs of installing faster and better broadband. Since Sheffield joined the scheme in April, it has had one of the highest uptakes in the country, with 305 businesses signing up.

Edward Highfield, Sheffield City Council’s Director of Creative Sheffield, said: “Hosting this visit today with We Do 3D Printing is all about showcasing the great facilities we have here in Sheffield for businesses. We’re working hard to secure the very best infrastructure for businesses in the region, from transport to broadband. Access to superfast broadband is vital, and will only become more so in the future.

“Sheffield is building a growing reputation nationally as a great place to locate your business, and today I’m pleased to take this opportunity to profile our rock solid business friendly credentials once again.”

Darren Barker, Managing Director of We Do 3D Printing, said: “We have been part of the voucher scheme for about a month now, and seen our internet speed increase fifty fold. Being a 3D printing business, we need to transfer large files, and we do over 95 per cent of our business online. So access to superfast broadband now means we are much more efficient, and can communicate with our customers more easily.

“We are still a relatively new start-up business, so without this voucher scheme we could not have afforded superfast broadband, so this has been hugely important and made a big difference to us.”

Applicant businesses are on average seeing their download speeds go from 7mbps to over 50mbps. Data from Leeds-Bradford suggests that each voucher creates on average, 2.1 new jobs per business and an increase in turnover of £148k per business over the first year.

Businesses throughout South Yorkshire can apply for a Connection Voucher by visiting the Superfast South Yorkshire website for further information http://vouchers.superfastsouthyorkshire.co.uk/

The Sheffield City Region (SCR) Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) has identified Superfast Broadband connectivity as a priority requirement for delivering economic prosperity in the Region and commissioned ‘The Rural Broadband Programme’ for South Yorkshire. This circa £22m contract that will deliver the following outcomes for South Yorkshire:

• Access to superfast broadband services for 97.9% of premises
• Access to basic broadband for the remaining 2.1% of premises
• Access to superfast broadband services for 79% of enterprise zones and business parks

The Sheffield City Region and Superfast South Yorkshire continue to look at further opportunities for providing businesses with the best broadband services available.