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Wednesday 29th May 2024, 2:00 PM (BST)

Virgin invites startups to trial superfast broadband

Startups in Tech City have been invited by Virgin Media Business to register their interest in a market trial for superfast broadband.

Virgin Media Business (VMB) has invited digitally deprived startups located in Tech City to put their names down to register their interest in a market trial for dedicated fibre connectivity.


The pilot will involve no more than 2,000 startups in the East London area of Shoreditch and aims to improve connectivity in this region by making it faster, cheaper and more reliable for small businesses to get online.

To qualify, applicants must be housed in premises that hold two or more businesses that have no more than 249 employees. VMB will be particularly keen to try out the technology on “digitally deprived businesses with a latent talent potential”.


Government subsidies for lower prices

Due to a subsidy from the government’s SuperConnected Cities scheme, businesses will be able to apply for either a 50 Mbps or 100 Mbps connection for a monthly fee of £199 or £249, respectively, but installation will be free.

This drive to revamp the connectivity for businesses in the UK comes not long after government officials have called for an overhaul of the system. It seems that Tech City, London’s startup hotspot, has struggled for a while now with poor and expensive broadband connectivity, which are notoriously unreliable.

"Virgin Media Business's new offer to Tech City businesses is a brilliant example of the many innovative products available to small and medium-sized enterprises and will play an important role in removing barriers to better connectivity," said Ed Vaizey, digital economy minister.


Broadband needs nationwide overhaul

It’s a first step in the right direction and will no doubt be followed by schemes that aim to improve broadband connectivity throughout the country, especially as thousands of UK businesses that are based in rural areas have suffered from terribly slow speeds or a complete lack of connection entirely.

Furthermore, a recent report from TechCityUK highlighted that nearly three quarters of all digital sector businesses in the UK are actually based outside of London. Yet another reason why broadband will need to undergo renovations across the whole of Britain if it wishes to remain a hotspot for entrepreneurship.

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