Businesses across Bath and North East Somerset will have access to a government scheme to get faster, better broadband, thanks to recent action by the Council.
Local cabinet members lobbied the government to ensure that the whole of B&NES was covered by the Broadband Connection Vouchers scheme; previously the scheme had only been available to businesses near Bristol.
Councillor Ben Stevens (Widcombe, Lib Dem), Cabinet member for Sustainable Development, commented: “Small businesses are often born in their owner’s spare room or on their kitchen table.
“Access to decent broadband is essential if you’re working from home, but high start-up costs can be a real barrier to starting a business.
“I’m delighted that the government agreed with our requests to expand the SuperConnected Bristol scheme to cover all of Bath and North East Somerset.
“This goes to show that local and national government working together can deliver for residents and businesses in B&NES.”
Councillor Neil Butters (Bathavon South, Lib Dem) added: “The small and medium sized businesses that are a feature of areas such as Wellow and Shoscombe in my ward have the potential to provide many more jobs for local people, if they get the right support.
“There are many SMEs, in North East Somerset particularly, which could benefit from this scheme. I am glad that the government listened to our requests.”
B&NES Council is also a member of the Connecting Devon and Somerset scheme which is helping to roll out superfast broadband infrastructure in hard to reach areas across the UK.
This month has seen the first broadband cabinet coming online to serve the village of Batheaston.
Wera Hobhouse, Lib Dem prospective MP for North East Somerset, added: “Lib Dems in B&NES have championed the rollout of superfast broadband.
“There have been some frustrating delays in implementing this scheme but I am delighted to see that the work is starting to pay off.
“People across our area know that these improvements are crucial to expanding our local economy, as well as meaning people don’t experience delays online.
“It is thanks to the hard work of people like Dan Rogerson, Liberal Democrat Rural Affairs Minister that this is being taken seriously, and the government is backing up these schemes with the funding required.”