Powering the Northern Powerhouse

Bringing ultrafast connectivity to the North

Over the years, Internet connectivity has become increasingly vital to businesses - an incredible 94% of SMEs believe that reliable Internet connectivity is absolutely critical to their success, as an example of that importance. Unfortunately, the availability of reliable, ultrafast connectivity doesn’t match the demand that businesses have, leaving many held back.

Historically, this has been a particular issue in the North of England, with cities and towns across the area typically receiving significantly lower and less reliable Internet connectivity than other parts of the country.

As the Northern Powerhouse starts to organise and roll out funding, events and more, our partners at CityFibre have called for an increased level of investment in ultrafast fibre optic connectivity, explaining that “fibre networks are truly transformative. Access to gigabit speeds increases productivity, reduces inefficiencies, allows businesses to offer better services and ultimately, boosts the bottom line”.

The scale of the transformation that ultrafast connectivity brings in is hard to overstate. It’s estimated that the average UK worker loses out on roughly 38 hours of work every year due to slow and unreliable Internet connectivity - while fibre can’t completely cut that out, it provides a vast improvement, ensuring that businesses are more productive while workers avoid frustration.

Another major change that fibre brings in is increased upload speeds. Typically, uploads are about an eighth as fast as downloads - traditionally, this hasn’t been a huge problem for most, but with the emergence of Cloud storage and services, it’s become a major impediment for a lot of businesses. Many fibre services (including our DarkLight connectivity) are designed to be symmetrical, delivering upload speeds just as fast as downloads, and making it easier than ever to get the best out of Cloud services.

DarkLight Cities across the North

We’ve been working to transform a number of areas around the North, bringing in world-class service with our completely future-proofed DarkLight connectivity. Using DarkLight, businesses can receive multi-gigabit performance (along with many other ultrafast options), ensuring that they can get exactly what they need from their connectivity.

With our office based in Bradford, we worked to make sure that the city was one of the first Northern locations to benefit from the ultrafast performance of DarkLight, launching along with Leeds back in April 2016. Our network spans a full 71 KM of Bradford, covering practically every part of the city and it’s surroundings, making Bradford one of the fastest connected cities in the UK.

In Leeds, our network spans an incredible 117 KM, which means that a huge number of businesses and schools can and are benefitting from DarkLight connectivity. The Ricci Group is one of the many organisations receiving ultrafast Internet speeds with DarkLight - check out the video below for a look at what their connectivity means for them.

DarkLight doesn’t just stop in Bradford and Leeds. In the north, we’ve recently expanded into the Sheffield city region, with a network covering Northampton, Doncaster, Rotherham, and Sheffield itself, giving thousands of businesses the ability to get the reliable, high-quality connectivity they need.

Saving money on Ultrafast connectivity

While ultrafast Internet connectivity can be a huge benefit for businesses, many are put off by the relatively high costs of upgrading. DarkLight is typically significantly cheaper than other options for ultrafast performance, but there’s some new programmes running across Yorkshire to cut down that cost even more - digital voucher schemes.

There’s two major voucher scheme programmes running right now for SMEs in the North, each of which can potentially cut thousands off the cost of upgrading to ultrafast performance. The Digital Enterprise scheme is designed for businesses across the Leeds city region (including Bradford), while Superfast South Yorkshire Vouchers cover businesses across the Sheffield region - read on to find out more!

Digital Enterprise Vouchers: These vouchers subsidise a full 40% on the cost of new business technology for SMEs across the Leeds city region, all the way up to an incredible £5000 subsidy! Digital Enterprise Vouchers can be used for a wide range of business technology, including the cost of introducing ultrafast connectivity - click through to find out more about eligibility and applications for the voucher scheme.

Superfast South Yorkshire Vouchers: There’s two forms of SFSY Voucher - SFSY Connectivity Vouchers are designed specifically to halve the cost of bringing in ultrafast Internet connections, with up to £2500 available in subsidies. Another scheme, the SFSY Innovation Voucher, has a wider scope, and can be used for practically any kind of business tech, with almost £12500 available for businesses!