Businesses were able to access grants up to �3,000 in order to improve their internet infrastructure

55 000 UK businesses boosted by superfast broadband

A government scheme to get businesses to sign up to superfast broadband - defined by the EU as reaching download speeds of 24Mbps and above - has attracted 55,000 small and medium businesses since April.

The businesses have a combined workforce of one million people across the UK and have taken advantage of the Broadband Connection Voucher Scheme which was designed to cover the costs of installing faster and better broadband.

£40m in funding has been available for the initiative since April 2015, all of which has now been allocated. Businesses could apply for grants of up to £3,000 in order to improve their internet infrastructure.

The government said the scheme attracted companies across a range of sectors, including architect firms, estate agents, mechanics, events coordinators, cafes, graphic designers and caterers.

“Our Broadband Connection Voucher Scheme has been a tremendous success,” said digital economy minister Ed Vaizey.

“More than 55,000 small businesses across the UK have taken up the offer, many of which are already seeing significant boosts to their business as a result of improved broadband speeds.

“We’re transforming the UK’s digital landscape, helping cities to create new jobs and attract investment to make the UK an enviable business destination.”

Businesses benefitting from a broadband connection delivered by the scheme are reporting, on average, a £1,300 annual profit increase, with a new job being created for every four new connections.

The benefits to businesses included greater access to new markets through better communication, increased security through fast and secure backup of data, improved productivity and improving customer service through faster upload and download speeds.

This government claims that for every £1 invested in the scheme, more than £5 will be returned to the UK economy.

In August, the government announced that superfast broadband has now reached three million homes and businesses.

The government's Broadband Delivery UK programme has been designed to provide superfast broadband speeds of at least 24Mbps to 95 per cent of the country by 2017.

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