There won’t be many businesses that couldn’t benefit from faster broadband connections. In a constantly-on, ever-connected environment, high speed really does lead to stronger growth.
So it’s not surprising that the recent launch of the Connection Vouchers scheme, which provides assistance to small and medium-sized businesses of up to £3,000 towards the fixed costs of improving their broadband connection, has already generated considerable interest – and immediate paybacks for participating companies.
For London digital agency Weboo, securing a high grade broadband connection has dramatically improved productivity. CEO Ian Broom reckons his company makes savings of about half an hour of productive work for every member of staff, every day. More importantly, it has led to better, more responsive client service. (You can hear more from Ian on this video.)
Similar productivity improvements have been seen by Cardiff-based recruitment company CPS Group where an office move allied with improved broadband has revolutionised the business. “We can send anything we need to, instantly,” says CEO Jason Grandin. He believes the firm is now obtaining an average of 15 per cent more productive working hours each week. That’s from the reliable high definition video conferencing, which allows his consultants to operate effectively across the UK and in several countries, to the rapid access to CPS’ central (and vital) recruitment database and accounts, both of which are both held in cloud-based systems.
Manchester-based SSR Group was the first audio-engineering school in the UK and continues to be a leading provider of media training. The original studios hosted bands including the Stone Roses, the Smiths and the Happy Mondays. The company has opened new campuses in London, Jakarta and Singapore.
For SSR, the Connection Voucher is enabling greater levels of global collaboration. Students around the world have better access to content for students through faster uploading and downloading of large music and video files. And new teaching and performance routes are being developed as lessons are beamed and guest lectures and technical demonstrations are streamed across sites.
“High grade broadband is opening new doors for our business, says Ian Carmichael, vice principal at SSR, “we are just at the beginning of exploring what it can do for us and our students.”
“High-grade broadband means everything can happen simultaneously, with no disruption,” says Steve Chambers, technical director of IT support company BVR Group. “That is the really big win. Consumer broadband does not allow businesses to operate to their full potential.”
The Message Trust, a charity that helps schools in deprived areas and supports young ex-offenders, the Connection Voucher has opened up new communications possibilities. The charity is planning to invest in high definition video conferencing so its Manchester-based CEO can talk regularly to the charity’s regional directors in South Africa and other UK sites – something that was just not possible with its old broadband connection. And the Message Trust believes that it will reduce its current phone bill considerably by running over the broadband connection.
Scheme now closed
The Government’s Broadband Connection Voucher Scheme ran from December 2013 until October 2015. From April 2015, the scheme was funded by a £40m Government challenge fund. This fund is now fully committed and the Scheme has closed to new applicants.