Superfast broadband is essential to the economic growth of Cambridgeshire
Fast, reliable Internet connections are vital for economic growth because it means businesses across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough can thrive and compete in a global world.
Increasing numbers of people work flexibly from home and better broadband means they can keep connected without having to spend time and money travelling.
Connecting Cambridgeshire has already rolled out superfast broadband to thousands of businesses and homes that would not be able to get it otherwise, and is aiming for 99% coverage by the end of 2020.
Digital Technology Grants for Business
Digital technology is vital to support economic growth, enabling businesses to thrive and compete in domestic and global markets. This is regarded as especially critical in the ongoing pandemic situation which is pushing businesses into new business models more quickly than they would previously have expected.
Connecting Cambridgeshire has secured funding from the European Regional Development Fund and Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Combined Authority to offer a grant scheme that will support local businesses to make productive use of digital technologies to grow their businesses in response to the changing economic environment.
Available from February 2021 until the end of August 2021 (or until the funding runs out, whichever is soonest*), the Digital Technology Grants for Business scheme will support the growth and resilience of eligible small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.
*Please note that we have already received an extremely high volume of Expression of Interest (EOI) requests and are working to process these in the order in which they are received. Any EOIs received after the available funding has been provisionally allocated will be held on a waiting list in the order in which they were received. We will respond to each EOI with a relevant update as soon as possible. Thank you for your patience.
Help to Grow: Digital
Businesses are also being invited to register for a new Government scheme announced in the Budget (March 2021).
Help to Grow: Digital will give small businesses free online technology advice and 50% discounts on new productivity-enhancing software.
Keeping everyone connected
Covid-19 has made us all more reliant on phone networks and internet services to stay in touch, which is why they are designated as critical services by the Government.
It’s vital that people can keep connected when being asked to stay at home, work remotely and practice social distancing. But getting fast, reliable internet access can be a challenge – particularly when several people want to go online at the same time.
Connecting Cambridgeshire, the digital connectivity programme led by Cambridgeshire County Council, is working with telecoms operators to improve broadband and mobile coverage across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough. Our Enabling Digital Delivery service is supporting telecoms operators working on critical broadband and mobile networks, and can help to liaise with planners and streetworks.
We are also offering support to businesses and communities to keep everyone connected:
Most homes and businesses across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough can now upgrade to superfast broadband of at least 24Mbps (and often much faster). The fibre broadband rollout is continuing to fill remaining gaps in coverage as soon as possible, meanwhile there is a range of options to help people cope with poor broadband connections.
If you want to upgrade your broadband speed, visit the Connecting Cambridgeshire Getting Superfast webpage to check if you can get superfast and follow the steps to upgrade, or find out about the options available.
Check the Home Broadband Networks guide for advice for employees on how to maximise broadband speeds and capacity while working from home.
We’re working with Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Combined Authority and network operators to improve mobile phone coverage and have put together a Quick Guide to help available from the broadband and mobile networks
Financial help for businesses – Gigabit Broadband Vouchers
Gigabit Broadband Vouchers worth up to £3,500 are available for groups of small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) and homes with broadband speeds of less than 100Mbps to support the cost of installing new gigabit-capable connections with neighbouring premises.
Check your eligibility and find out more on the official voucher scheme website.
If you need further advice on digital connectivity for your business and working from home during the Covid-19 outbreak, please contact the Connecting Cambridgeshire team by email email@example.com stating your address, postcode, and situation.
Other useful links
Reset. Restart – Scheme to support SMEs through COVID-19 launched by Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Business and IP Centre and the British Library – read more about this on the Cambridgeshire County Council website.
National Cyber Security Centre – Cyber Aware strategies to protect yourself online at this time.
BT’s Small Business Support Scheme – BT has recently announced its largest ever commitment to Britain’s 5.8 million small businesses. The new Small Business Support Scheme outlines a range of new measures designed to boost small business confidence, connectivity and cashflow, to help kick-start recovery and growth in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.
The ten initiatives have been developed to address some of the biggest pressure points being felt by small businesses, as revealed by BT’s research with Small Business Britain. Find out more.
Free digital mentorship for your business – Visa and Google UK, have joined forces with a number of other organisations to offer free support to small businesses in relation to digital skills in the form of mentoring, online courses, workshops and content.