Government makes it easier to apply for business broadband vouchers

Eligible small firms will no longer need to fill in a big application form to have their broadband subsidised by the government’s voucher scheme, after red tape led to it being widely ignored.

The government's hoping to improve its process for dishing out broadband vouchers to small UK businesses after embarrassingly low uptake left the vast majority of funding untouched.

When the voucher scheme was first launched, the aim was to help around 200,000 small firms gain access to 'ultrafast' fibre optic broadband with speeds in excess of 80Mb.

But only £7.5million of a £100million pot has been claimed so far, with only 3,000 companies bothering to apply for the Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) subsidy.

With a March 2015 deadline looming, the government's realised it needs to do away with the red tape and make it easier for businesses to claim their broadband vouchers.

Culture secretary Sajid Javid said: "This is a golden opportunity for businesses to take advantage of better broadband. The grant takes away the costs of installation, which are normally charged upfront or added to monthly charges."

Eligible businesses, which pretty much means any company with fewer than 250 employees, will no longer need to fill in a big fat application form. Instead, you can simply ask your chosen provider for details about joining the scheme.

The one major snag, however, is that your business will need to be based in an area where ultrafast fibre optic broadband's available, which primarily will mean city centres.

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