BT bid to help small firms with connectivity and cashflow
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Telecommunications giant BT has launched a major drive to support the East of England’s 598,000 small businesses following the coronavirus pandemic.
Its Small Business Support Scheme aims to help firms boost connectivity including by boosting connectivity with help towards the cost of ultrafast business connections, known as an ethernet line. It will subsidise the total cost by up to £2,500 per customer.
This extends the benefits of the government’s Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme, which closed in May, for firms like graphic design agencies and production houses which need gigabit speeds of up to 10Gbps to send and receive rich media files.
MORE – Eco-friendly superyacht takes luxury seafaring to new levelThe BT action plan also includes a commitment to pay its 4,500 small business suppliers within 30 days of being invoiced.
It is launching bursaries for 1,000 UK tech start-ups from October for free fibre broadband and mobile bundles, and is introducing BT Halo for Business - a converged fibre broadband, mobile and digital phone line bundle for micro-businesses enabling businesses to stay better connected inside and outside of the workplace.
BT says it is also preparing to launch a new digital payments solution to help small businesses move to cashless transactions.
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Jon Pollock, BT director for corporate and public sector in the East of England, said: “With small businesses accounting for more than 99% of all businesses in the East of England, they are the beating heart of our economy, high streets and communities. They deserve the support of each and every one of us to help them thrive into the future.”
New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) boss Chris Starkie welcomed the BT drive.
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“Businesses across East Anglia have experienced incredibly difficult trading conditions over the past few months,” he said.
“This is a welcome and innovative scheme from BT to help local businesses. Any help to ease the pressures of cash flow, improve digital skills and make full fibre broadband more accessible is a real positive. The need for digital transformation is vital and I encourage small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to take advantage of the help on offer.”