New scheme to supercharge business connectivity in West Sussex launches

West Sussex businesses currently suffering from the slowest broadband speeds are being supported to get online with an alternative 4G mobile broadband solution.

As part of our council plan to support a sustainable and prosperous economy through investment in digital infrastructure, West Sussex County Council is working with the county’s District and Borough Councils to make new funding available to support testing and installation of a bespoke wireless alternative to fibre broadband. The solution will enable businesses to receive a boosted 4G signal directly to their property to power internal broadband.

The 4G Mobile Broadband Voucher Scheme typically offers up to £1,250 per qualifying business to cover the costs of a practical signal test and the subsequent installation of the new 4G solution, including all necessary equipment.

The 4G solution on offer to the county’s businesses uses 4G mobile data to connect their business premises to the internet in the same way that a smart phone sends and receives information. The solution uses a single, professionally mounted external antenna which is installed at the qualifying property. The external antenna can deliver a 4G signal directly into a newly supplied router, which then projects the connectivity in the form of Wi-Fi around the property, in the same way that conventional broadband works.

Albourne Estate, an award-winning winery in West Sussex, is already benefiting from the scheme. Alison Nightingale, owner of Albourne Estate, agreed to trial the 4G mobile broadband solution with the aim of improving the businesses connectivity and customer offer. They immediately benefitted from faster speeds improving their ability to carry out marketing activity and management of their ecommerce website. Additionally, they could now offer free wi-fi making it possible for visitors to quickly and easily sign up to the estate’s Wine Club to receive information and extra offers while onsite.

Alison said: “We’re really pleased with the positive difference that 4G mobile connectivity is making to our daily business activities. The installation was professionally carried out and the faster, more reliable speeds are making life so much easier. 4G has eliminated the frustration of waiting for hours to download commissioned photography or upload promotions and offers to our website. By having fast, free wifi we can capture visitors’ enthusiasm to sign up for our Wine Club whilst they are with us. I would encourage any rural business struggling with slow broadband speeds to seriously consider applying for a voucher to test and install a 4G mobile solution to see if it works for them.”

Andrew Griffith MP for Arundel and South Downs said: “It is excellent news that West Sussex County Council has launched this 4G Mobile Broadband Voucher Scheme to support businesses which are battling slow broadband. This scheme pioneered by the County Council will unlock the potential of businesses in rural areas and will supplement the wider broadband upgrades we will see across West Sussex during the Government’s £5 billion Project Gigabit.”

Steve Waight, County Council Cabinet Member responsible for Digital Infrastructure said: “We are determined to support our county’s businesses to benefit from digital connectivity that helps them trade and grow to their full potential. We know there are many small businesses in need of a strong and reliable internet connection to support their daily activities and promote their business’ innovation and growth. I encourage them to explore this opportunity to test out and use a 4G alternative, with the confidence that testing and installation costs will be covered.”

To be eligible for the scheme a property must be a registered business address (which can include home-based businesses) with existing speeds of 10mbps or slower. Applications will be assessed on a case-by-case basis if existing speeds are slightly faster.

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