Virgin Media Business has announced plans to increase broadband speeds for small business customers, promising the new VOOM Fibre service will provide internet four times faster than rival networks.
From 2 May 2017, a standard speed of 350Mbps will be introduced for Virgin Media Business customers, as well as a number of optional “bolt-ons” to allow for increased upload speeds and support. The basic package is set at £30 per month, with additional options reaching £55 per month.
In a statement, Peter Kelly, managing director of Virgin Media Business, claimed VOOM Fibre was the latest indicator that the company was a “champion” of small UK businesses, adding that increased maximum broadband speeds would unlock the potential of small firms across the country by providing the “digital backbone” needed to succeed.
He added: “For UK small business to thrive in this evolving digital economy they should have the technical ability and capacity in place so they can focus on development and growth, we are removing a barrier and enabling them to fulfil their digital potential – offering them all the speed they need to achieve success.”
Kelly stated that VOOM Fibre laid down a marker for competitors to follow, and he encouraged rivals such as BT and TalkTalk to “match us to enable and benefit small businesses and the UK economy”.
Alongside the VOOM Fibre offering, Virgin Media Business announced plans to create a network of entrepreneurs across Britain, helping to foster engagement and support among the small business community.
The network will consist of an online geo-located platform to enable small business customers to “share, co-create and collaborate” with fellow owners in their local areas.
“Entrepreneurship and endeavour requires more than a fast broadband connection. It requires ongoing support and a community of like-minded individuals to nurture and accelerate entrepreneurship into the future,” Kelly said of the initiative.
“We are passionate about seeing businesses grow and be the best they can be, so we’re creating a community made up of entrepreneurial dreamers through to established small business owners who will be able to connect with like-minded professionals.”
Customers of other networks could also soon expect faster broadband speeds, after Ofcom recently confirmed the legal separation of BT from Openreach.
Small business owners using providers such as Sky, Vodafone and TalkTalk – operators using the Openreach network – have previously suffered from BT prioritising its own customers, while rivals have complained of underinvestment in networks.
Commenting on the split, Dan Howdle, director of communications at Cable.co.uk, said customers would soon enjoy “all the benefits the stoking of competition in a fairer marketplace is likely to bring, without suffering the costs and delays to infrastructural rollout a full separation would have incurred.”
Insufficient broadband connectivity has long been a barrier to business growth for many firms, particularly in rural parts of the country where service was recently deemed “unacceptable“.
In March’s Budget announcements, chancellor Philip Hammond confirmed £200m would be invested over 2017 into providing full-fibre broadband access for small firms across the UK.
Find out more about government plans to introduce full-fibre broadband across Britain
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