London-based Hyperoptic has expanded north to pilot connection vouchers in Manchester with the Government's Urban Broadband Fund, aimed at helping small businesses access fast fibre broadband.
Hyperoptic, which received a £50m investment from George Soros in May 2013, is a registered partner of the Urban Broadband Fund, tasked with rolling ultrafast broadband out to four test cities across the UK.
The UBF, announced in the 2011 Autumn Statement, was allocated £150m by the Department of Culture, Media & Sport. It aims to provide up to 10 cities across the UK with ultrafast broadband connectivity and enable a further 12 smaller cities to become super-connected.
The first phase of the project started this week with the launch of Connection Voucher Schemes in Belfast, Cardiff, Edinburgh and Manchester. The connection vouchers, which will vary in value between £250 and £3,000, will enable SMEs in these four test areas to have the upfront installation costs of superfast broadband subsidised. Tens of thousands of SMEs could benefit, with the DCMS predicting that up to £90m of vouchers will be issued over the total lifetime of the scheme.
Hyperoptic will be supporting the voucher scheme in three of the four UBF test cities – Cardiff, Edinburgh and Manchester by offering a 100Mbps leased line product from £250/month.
Dana Tobak, managing director of Hyperoptic, said: "Thousands of small and medium sized businesses across the UK currently suffer from being unable to access adequate broadband speeds. Instead, they are languishing in the slow lane with broadband which claims to be 'superfast' but is actually anything but. This can have a major impact on business performance, with unreliable speeds directly hindering their growth.
"Hyperoptic already offers ground-breaking fibre broadband technology to businesses in London. We are involved in the UBF to support the Government to break down barriers to true hyperfast broadband in other UK cities, and in doing so, enable small businesses to fast track their business growth. By providing fast, efficient and affordable services we are confident that we will contribute to UBF's long-term success on a national level."