YORK'S bid to become one of the best digitally connected cities in Europe has taken a step forward as £1 million is made available for businesses to access superfast broadband.
A scheme has been launched offering SMEs the chance to sign-up for vouchers worth up to £3,000, to cover the cost of linking their business premises to broadband fibres in the city.
The scheme is funded by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport , as part of York’s status as one of 22 SuperConnected Cities.
City of York Council leader Coun James Alexander said: “We are working to make sure that York has the right environment for our businesses to thrive and grow.
"Many businesses need faster but affordable broadband. This voucher scheme will help York businesses to be competitive and to continue to prosper."
The first applicant for the scheme will be Field & Fawcett, a wine merchants and delicatessen based at Grimston Bar.
The business is accessing the York CORE fibre through registered supplier York Data Services.
Mark Fordyce, managing director of York Data Services said “We have been able to connect Field & Fawcett, giving them access to our services at Gigabit speeds. This sort of solution invariably carries higher installation costs which can be prohibitive to some businesses, so the voucher scheme is a welcomed initiative to help lower those barriers."
The voucher scheme will run for a year on a first come first served basis.
Business can choose from 200 registered suppliers to access three fibres in York, operated by BT, CityFibre and Virgin.
Greg Mesch, chief executive at CityFibre, which runs the York CORE pure fibre network, said: "The voucher scheme is the perfect opportunity for York’s businesses to super-charge their connectivity.
“Most businesses recognise their data requirements and reliance on connectivity is growing exponentially and connecting to the pure fibre will deliver the unbeatable, economical and reliable performance they require long into the future.”
Tom Keeney, BT’s regional director for Yorkshire and the Humber, said: “This exciting scheme is a vital step forward.
“Businesses can use the technology to boost their competitiveness, work more efficiently, attract new customers or strengthen relationships with existing customers. Every firm that switches to faster broadband is good news for York.
"This new voucher scheme is incredibly important as it will encourage more businesses to take up the new technology."