Vodafone offers small businesses a year of free broadband

New research shows the number of small firms wholly reliant on being online has doubled during the pandemic

Vodafone has offered UK-based small companies 12 months of free business broadband, which can be installed either in the home or office, if they register for a three-year deal.

Coinciding with the third national UK lockdown, the offer is being made available to businesses with 50 or fewer employees, many of which are more reliant on a solid and stable internet connection than ever. This is also an expansion on Vodafone’s six-month free broadband for startups offer made in June 2020 during the first wave of the virus.

The offer follows research by Enterprise Nation that showed small firms running entirely online has doubled from 27% to 55% during the COVID-19 pandemic, alongside a massive shift to remote working. A Vodafone spokesperson confirmed that home workers can also benefit from the offer should their companies sign up for the package.

“2020 will go down as the year business went online - we have seen small businesses in their droves pivot to build websites, embrace social media and rely on video platforms to keep in touch with their teams,” said Emma Jones, founder of Enterprise Nation.

“To succeed for the longer term, this requires strong broadband that won't let you down and investment in digital technology.”

The research also showed that 71% of firms said they rely more on broadband than ever, with 94% of SMBs surveyed also relying on video conferencing for work during the pandemic.

The third UK lockdown has also meant the majority of schooling across the UK is also shifting to remote learning, meaning many UK families have much higher data demands than normal. To ease the burden, a handful of telecoms firms this week, including EE, BT, Three, and Vodafone, announced they were partnering with the government to offer free data and unlimited broadband for children studying at home throughout this period.

With enterprises and even schooling now so reliant on a stable internet connection, many would argue that broadband should now be deemed as being aking to a public utility, like energy or water. The Labour Party, for instance, argued as much during the 2019 general election, even offering a free broadband policy that was derided by businesses at the time.

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Vodafone’s free broadband offer must be taken up by 28 February 2021, and is open to both new and existing Vodafone customers. Once the first 12 months has expired, the monthly fee will revert to a standard rate of £22.50 (exc VAT) for average speeds of 35 Mbps and £25 (exc VAT) for average speeds of 63 Mbps. There’ll also be a one-time fee of £20 to cover setup costs.

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