Government funding to bring gigabit connectivity to rural UK businesses



The most recent budget had some positive news for businesses in the more isolated parts of the country, with the Chancellor promising funding for rural connectivity: “The government is committing £5 billion to support the rollout of gigabit-capable broadband in the most difficult to reach 20% of the country, so that all areas are able to benefit. This investment will level up connectivity across the UK, particularly in rural areas.”

At Glide, we’re already well aware of the importance of ultrafast, reliable broadband for more rural businesses and pride ourselves on bringing connectivity to those harder-to-reach areas some of our larger competitors have neglected over the years. As part of the government-funded Gigabit Voucher Scheme, we’ve brought our technology to almost 1200 businesses across the country, allowing our customers to expand and evolve their businesses. As a result, Glide were awarded SME Provider of the Year by Connected Britain in 2019 for ‘liberating their customers from poor or lagging connectivity’.

We’ve also been involved in Fastershire, the brand name of a consortium of three county councils: Gloucestershire, Herefordshire and more recently Shropshire who have been assigned a budget by government and given funding from the EU Development Fund to bring fibre to rural business parks. As part of the scheme, businesses struggling with slow speeds apply for funding and, if granted, their applications are opened up to providers to tender. One business park that has already benefited from the scheme is the Hawthorns, a rural park with a number of different clients who have seen growth in their business as a result of the ultrafast, reliable fibre broadband now available to them thanks to Glide. For more information on how Glide can bring ultrafast connectivity to rural businesses, we have a case study on the Fastershire site.

As the Gigabit Voucher Scheme draws to a close, we envisage a lot of interest in the new Rural Gigabit Connectivity scheme, which is currently due to run until March 2021. It has a £200m fund, of which £12m is already committed thanks to it drawing on a subset of the same umbrella funding. One of the major differences is that requests for funding have to be project-based – addressing an aggregation of beneficiaries – rather than the single connections which Gigabit Voucher Scheme funded. This means if you’re a rural business park looking to grow your productivity and business through ultrafast, reliable business, Glide has the expertise, experience and product to help.

Why is Gigabit broadband good for business?

The main reason is productivity. The average UK standard broadband speed is just 11Mbps. With an upgrade from Glide you’ll benefit from speeds of between 100Mbps and 1Gbps. Upgrading your internet connection means reducing lag and buffer time and more productive employees. With quality video conferencing, connecting with clients is less time-consuming, travel fatigue is reduced and the need for face-to-face meetings is reduced.

In addition, 40 percent of UK businesses are using cloud-based solutions. When connected to ultrafast broadband, the cloud offers the agility needed for organisations to optimise their products and customer service, and for workers to enjoy faster and more robust connections.

Not only that, but we have our own National Core Network and carefully manage traffic to minimise contention, making us even faster for your business.

The evolution of the Glide National Network is a key component of a customer-centric approach which continues to raise expectations of both broadband speed and reliability. Owning the physical infrastructure connected to the Glide National Network ensures complete freedom for Glide to deliver speed, resilience and bandwidth to customers.

Operational efficiency passed on to Glide customers that can not be offered by Glide competitors.

An innovative and cost effective approach to delivering fibre connectivity across the UK means more ownership and control so there are fewer third parties to deal with during deployment and more freedom and ownership to deliver progressive support agreements. If something breaks it is much easier and quicker to fix it. New customers benefit from an established and robust infrastructure and with comprehensive UK coverage, chances are a new customer is close to the Glide National Network.