Thousands of pounds are up for grabs for small and medium sized businesses thanks to a new government scheme known as SuperConnected Cities.
The Department of Culture, Media and Sport has allocated £100 million to roll out superfast internet connections across much of the UK. They’re doing this by encouraging small and medium sized businesses to take out a leased line, which will provide a dedicated internet connection to their work premises, and covering the costs of the installation.
A leased line is a dedicated internet connection that runs straight to your work premises and provides an uncontended web connection. They also come with a Service Level Agreement, meaning that if you have a problem, an engineer will be out the same day in order to fix the issue, rather than you wait for a fault to be raised and then hope an appointment can be booked quickly.
So what’s so great about a leased line?
Leased lines have several benefits. Apart from the uncontended line, they provide higher upload speeds, in some cases, high enough to mirror your download speeds. They can also provide enough data to run VoIP services reliably, avoiding call drops and crackling lines.
There are several types of leased line, but by far the most powerful and the most future proof is the fibre leased line. This provides a dedicated line direct to the premises, with mirrored upload and download speeds and a service level agreement of just four hours. Fibre lines can be adjusted to fit the needs of your business, so you can have 100mb installed, but only just 20mb of it, until you need more data.
Should you get a leased line?
If your business relies on constant file-sharing, such as an architects’ office, or you have staff members working from home accessing your network, a higher upload speed will make all the difference to you. If you’ve made the switch to VoIP to help cut your costs of phone calls, but have found they drop or the quality is poor, running them over a leased line will provide you a much more reliable service and stop your customers being frustrated with phone correspondence.
Where does the government money come into it?
The Dept of Culture, Media and Sport has allocated £100 million to be given to SMEs and sole traders who want to improve their internet connections with a leased line. Each business can claim up to £3000 to cover their set-up costs and any extra charges associated with the installation. It doesn’t cover VAT though and please be aware that there will be an ongoing monthly charge for the service, fully payable by you.
I’m sold! What next?
You must check you’re eligible for the scheme – are you a sole trader or an SME? Is your business based in one of the 22 cities covered in the scheme? Once you know you are eligible, then you’ll need to apply for two quotes from registered suppliers, choose the quote you want to go for and apply to your local council to get the voucher.
Installation for a leased line can take several weeks, and will involve engineer visits and assessments to work out how much work needs to be done. Costs may vary depending on whether roads need to be dug up or the install is complicated.
Then all that’s left to do is enjoy the boost your business will get from superfast, unlimited internet!