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Government backed Ethernet scheme

Readers may not be aware that in 2011, the government set aside £100 million for an Urban Broadband Fund (UBF) to initially create ten ‘SuperConnected Cities’ across the UK. This was followed in 2012 with an additional fund of £50 million for a ‘second wave’ covering a further twelve cities to benefit from this programme.

Tom Fellows, Sales Director of Spitfire Network Services
Tom Fellows, Sales Director of Spitfire Network Services

Supported cities include Aberdeen, Belfast, Birmingham, Bradford/Leeds, Brighton and Hove, Bristol, Cambridge, Cardiff, Coventry, Edinburgh, Derby, London (including Croydon, Enfield, Redbridge, Sutton, Westminster), Londonderry/Derry, Manchester/Salford, Newcastle, Newport, Oxford, Perth, Portsmouth and York.

The scheme remains open until 31 March 2015 and provides up to £3,000 towards business customer installation costs for Ethernet connections in the 22 cities. To be eligible, a business must have less than 250 employees, a turnover of less than £40 million, and require a circuit which is 20Mbps or faster.

The Ethernet connectivity services covered by the scheme provide a dedicated high speed, uncontended, full duplex symmetrical bandwidth solution that has lower overhead, greater throughput and higher reliability than all broadband (ADSL/SDSL) services. This makes the service highly attractive to business users requiring high quality, resilient connectivity for Voice over IP and other unified communication applications including SIP trunks.

Ethernet is excellent at providing secure and stable internet connections, making it the best solution for accessing data storage services and applications in the cloud. Ethernet over fibre is definitely the gold standard of high quality internet connectivity and is something that every business that depends on an internet connection should consider. Fibre Ethernet for direct internet access is the optimum solution for businesses that have mission-critical applications requiring high bandwidth, including financial businesses, advertising agencies, the print and graphics industry and professional service providers like legal and accountancy practices.

Spitfire is one of only 20 vendors, out of 400 participating in the ‘SuperConnected Cities’ programme, that can pre-approve application vouchers under the scheme. In practice, this means that customers applying through the scheme for an Ethernet installation grant do not need to get competitive quotes for installation work or local authority approval, as Spitfire can authorise the whole installation process.

The ‘SuperConnected Cities’ programme has been hugely successful and it is a great opportunity for business customers in major metropolitan areas to benefit from Ethernet connectivity. But with the scheme due to end by April, this window of opportunity is about to close and, with a general election in May, its future is uncertain. We know from experience that once customers install Ethernet they are able to access a range of cloud-based services, such as hosted telephony, storage and applications, that cut costs and raise productivity. So business users should investigate this time-limited government scheme while there’s still time.

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