The Government has recently launched a new scheme across the UK to assist small to medium sized businesses in upgrading their broadband.
The Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme will see firms being able to claim up to £3,000 to upgrade their broadband to a gigabit capable connection. The scheme forms part of the Local Full Fibre Networks programme, backed by a £200 million investment courtesy of the Government.
The Gigabit Scheme will open the doors to cloud services such as VoIP, cloud based email, cloud desktops and other hosted solutions, meaning even the smallest business will enjoy the opportunity to compete on a global playing field thanks to time and money saving systems known to make doing business more efficient.
There is a set of eligibility criteria for the scheme. To qualify, companies have to be based in the UK. They must employ no more than 250 staff; have a turnover of less than £50 million and / or a balance sheet total under £43 million.
You don’t have to be a registered company to qualify: sole traders can also apply providing they meet the above criteria. This means that even the smallest businesses will be able to take advantage of today’s cloud based technologies that are reliant on fast and reliable internet.
VoIP: Also known as a cloud phone system, ‘voice over internet protocol’ telephone services have come a long way since they first became popular at the turn of the millennium, especially when backed by super-fast internet speeds. Cloud phones bring flexibility to the working day, providing access to an office phone system regardless of where you are. Money saving, convenient and presenting a professional profile without heavy capital investment, cloud phones offer a vast range of features such as call forwarding, call queuing, call routing and music on hold to name just a few.
Cloud email: Any time, any place access to business email with the reassurance of antivirus and antispam protection is made possible by cloud email. If you use Outlook, then you’ll appreciate its features such as contact lists and shared calendars, all available on the go on any device thanks to cloud email.
Cloud desktop: Everyone will agree that there is nothing like your own personal desktop. All your own shortcuts; the taskbar just how you want it; access to all your apps right there at your fingertips. So when you can see your familiar desktop on any device, wherever you are, that has to be a major advantage. Cloud desktop services reduce hardware costs because everything is hosted on cloud servers rather than locally. Plus with data stored in the cloud, there is an automatic back-up and built-in disaster recovery.
Matt Hancock is Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. On the subject of the Gigabit Scheme, he said: 'Small businesses are the backbone of the British economy and now they can turbo-charge their connectivity with gigabit speeds.
'By building a full fibre future for Britain we are laying the foundations for a digital infrastructure capable of delivering today what the next generation will need tomorrow.'
Whether you are just starting out in business or are planning expansion, a move to cloud services is sure to deliver a major boost to your efficiency and competitive edge. The new Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme will enable access to a range of cloud based services, so it is well worth learning more. Visit https://gigabitvoucher.culture.gov.uk/ to discover how the scheme could benefit your business, and if you are eager to find out more about cloud services, don’t hesitate to contact the IQinIT team.