The DCMS' announcement to reduce the maximum value of gigabit vouchers through its GBVS signals an important step in the availability of full fibre broadband to UK SMEs, but reducing the maximum voucher value to £2,500 could be of concern to businesses yet to claim.
In November 2018 the Department for Media, Culture and Sport announced that its Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme had thus far been a resounding success. Citing 7,000 claimants of gigabit vouchers, covering businesses and consumers, it has been heralded as affirmation of the Government's wider industrial strategy, and plans to bring the country's digital infrastructure up to date. But come 26 November 2018 that £3,000 voucher will decrease to £2,500 for your company.
Here's what your business needs to know about the announcement, and why you'll need to claim before the 23 November 2018 through Glide to get up to £3,000 off the install of gigabit.*
What does the reduction to a max. £2,500 GBVS voucher mean?
In the DCMS' announcement, the Government confirmed that 7,000 vouchers had been claimed, with ISPreview verifying that 5,803 businesses had claimed those gigabit vouchers.
Interestingly, these vouchers were clustered in the South of England, representing 36.3% of total claims (2540 of 7000).
From this, Glide Business have claimed nearly 10% of the 7000 vouchers, accounting for 10.3% of vouchers issued for businesses.
Here's what ISPReview have revealed on a regional breakdown of total vouchers claimed, as of October 2018:
South West - 1613 vouchers
South East - 927 vouchers
Yorkshire and The Humber - 871 vouchers
North West - 745 vouchers
London - 661 vouchers
West Midlands - 475 vouchers
East of England - 407 vouchers
East Midlands - 369 vouchers
North East - 68 vouchers
Northern Ireland - 418 vouchers
Scotland - 315 vouchers
Wales - 58 vouchers
Whilst encouraging to see that this area of the country is responding positively to the funding, it does pose the problem of the Midlands, North and the East being left behind.
This, coupled with the maximum value of the voucher decreasing from £3,000 to £2,500 means that less companies will be able to access these vouchers, and if trends continue towards the South, these areas could be set to gain more than other regions, especially those that the incumbent aren't necessarily building fibre infrastructure for, or allowing to go beyond the ADSL connectivity that remains prevalent.
Whilst we echo Margot James' sentiment that the vouchers give both a practical and immediate value, our fear is that this announcement will dilute the importance of full fibre and its roll out. Whilst it is an encouraging sign that there is a high demand of vouchers, the change to the maximum value of £2,500 instead of £3,000, poses a very real risk to thousands of companies who need this incentive. Through the Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme, Glide have been working tirelessly to support over 600 businesses to connect to the ultrafast broadband that is vital to their day to day operations, and competing well into the future. It also puts more pressure for ISPs such as Glide to invest even more in their networks to support the ever-growing demand. Although Glide remains committed to unleashing fibre connectivity across the country, this decision perhaps will be detrimental in slowing down both ISPs' pace and ability to reach the businesses which have oft been forgotten by the incumbent. James Warner, Director of Sales, Marketing and Product
The decrease means that SMEs truly have to act quickly in order to get £3,000 off the install of gigabit broadband. Come the 23 November 2018 the funding claimable will reduce to £2,500.
£3,000 off gigabit made all the difference
The Government's Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme (GBVS) began way back in 2017 as a trial in 6 regions across the UK to test how businesses would react to the prospect of ultrafast broadband availability in their county. For Glide Business, this meant companies in the Coventry and Warwickshire region had the opportunity to upgrade their internet in a cost-effective, efficient means.
The vouchers could be pooled for a Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) solution delivered to multiple SMEs, such as those in business parks, but more importantly it fit into our mantra of helping businesses access game-changing broadband.
The results spoke for themselves, with Glide Business supplying 67% of all vouchers claimed in the Coventry and Warwickshire area.
In life, some things can look too good to be true. In fact, even with £3,000 off the install of gigabit broadband on offer through the Government, there remained a lack of awareness of both the trial gigabit scheme, and the value of what was being offered to SMEs.
From one-man bands to up to 250 employees, we helped businesses like Nuco International see and appreciate the benefits of the scheme. The Coventry-based stationery firm struggled with an ADSL connection before the scheme, but the £3,000 voucher changed everything:
“We’ve always struggled with broadband speeds in our business park, and were previously on ADSL. Then Glide Business came in and built a fibre cabinet right next to us on Meriden Business Park. The process of upgrading to full fibre to our office was relatively hassle free. The support team were on hand and sorted out everything within a day. It’s allowed us to think about what else we can put in the cloud. The next area we’re looking at transferring is our hosting servers.” Mark Langan, IT & Project Manager at Nuco International
Fast forward to March 2018, the DCMS noticed the success and value that the GBVS brought to companies like Nuco International, and announced the scheme was now open to SMEs across the UK.
The shift to a nationwide scheme brought with it increased awareness and businesses that could benefit from the scheme.
Businesses go gigabit for funding
The launch of the Gigabit Broadband Scheme came with a handful of provisos from the trial:
Your company still had to pass the SME criteria to qualify
You can only claim up to £3,000 for your business
The scheme was funded by a £67 million pot until March 2021, or when the funds ran dry
The end result was that by November 2018 over 600 businesses claimed a voucher for up to £3,000 off the install of gigabit capable broadband through Glide Business.
For Glide Business, more important than the number of businesses claiming was the breadth of industries and regions across the UK that were able to develop their digital infrastructure through the GBVS.
From tech companies and financial services, and even religious organisations, to coverage from Nottinghamshire to the South coast, and Gloucestershire to Essex, the appetite for ultrafast broadband through the gigabit scheme was plain to see.
Here's what it meant for IT specialists, Gigante Computers:
"The gigabit scheme was crucial as ultrafast broadband would have been well out of our budget without this. In our case, we were already sold on the benefits of gigabit-capable full fibre broadband, but cost was always going to be the main obstacle. The voucher scheme made everything possible.” Stephen King, Owner, Gigante Computers
The bottom line for your business
The one thing to take from this announcement is that there is truly no time to waste if your business is considering applying.
Our team of business broadband experts are on hand to navigate you through the gigabit scheme and get your voucher claimed through Glide before the 23 November 2018. The only question that remains is whether you'll get your hands on potentially £500 more of funding and give yourselves the change to grow your digital infrastructure in the most cost-effective way going.
To claim your gigabit voucher for up to £3,000 before the 23 November 2018 through Glide, head over to our gigabit knowledge hub, or pick up the phone and call 03455 911 311 to speak to our broadband experts!*
*Free installation (up to £3,000) is available with support from DCMS as part of the Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme. Eligibility criteria and terms and conditions apply, please see website for more details. Glide Business must receive your signed order form by 5:00pm Tuesday 23 November 2018. We reserve the right to withdraw this offer at any time.