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Broadband minister: Our voucher scheme for SMEs is a tremendous success

Yeah, never mind sluggish uptake and reduction in funds

Digital hairdressers and beardy, Web2.0 purveyors of boxes of cereal chomped down on more than 1,000 broadband vouchers that were dished out to small businesses by the UK government.

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport crowed on Monday that 55,000 SMEs had got their hands on grants for faster web access costing up to £3,000 for small firms in Blighty.

Of the 14,545 businesses that took up the offer in the capital, the DCMS said, "more than 1,000 businesses in and around London's 'Silicon roundabout'" signed up to the scheme.

However, as The Register has previously reported, uptake of the voucher scheme across UK cities that were eligible for the vouchers have been sluggish.

The £100m in funds originally allocated by the government failed to fly with the small biz world.

It's understood that many SMEs were concerned with the cost of high-speed leased lines and poor connectivity issues.

Two million pounds later (courtesy of a pricey ad campaign) and the government department – which has form in this approach – was re-framing its scheme as a success: the offer was extended to March 2016, with the total amount of available cash reduced to £60m – roughly two thirds of the original amount earmarked.

Tremendous indeed, minister! ®

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