By Jenni Davidson
Small businesses, charities and voluntary organisations in Brighton and Hove are being offered funding of up to £3,000 to improve their broadband connection speed.
There is £1.5 million in vouchers available and up to 1,000 small businesses are expected to benefit from them.
Landlords and tenants in shared commercial buildings can also pool their vouchers to pay for a shared connection with very high bandwidth.
The Connection Voucher Scheme is being run by Brighton and Hove City Council using Super Connected Cities funding from the government’s Department for Culture Media and Sport.
The scheme aims to give companies have a stronger digital presence by offering better access to high speed quality broadband.
The benefits of this include improved business efficiency and reliability, a greater ability to work with partners and increased competitiveness.
In 2011 the government set aside £100 million for an Urban Broadband Fund to create up to ten super-connected cities across the UK.
This was followed by a further fund of £50 million in 2012 for more cities to benefit from the programme.
Brighton and Hove was among the second wave of cities announced in 2012.
The super-connected cities will benefit from improved internet connections through a number of different technologies.
Council leader Jason Kitcat said: “We won this government cash to support our city’s reputation as a hub for digital and creative businesses.
“We’re delighted to be able to offer it as funding to help our businesses grow and diversify.
“Improving broadband in the city is essential to keeping us at the cutting edge, and removing barriers to local firms competing globally online.”
The scheme is open to small and medium-sized businesses with premises in Brighton and Hove.
The voucher can be used for installation costs, not ongoing line rental or VAT on the connection costs.
The new connection must be in place for a minimum of six months.
More information, including details of how to apply, can be found on the council’s website.