Business VoIP prospects for rural areas improve with new £20 million broadband spend

Businesses based in remote and rural areas of the UK could soon be able to participate in business VoIP thanks to a new £20 million Community Broadband Fund announced by the Department for the Environment Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).

The new fund will be used to provide these outlying areas with high speed broadband connectivity, enabling local businesses to take advantage of value added internet-based services such as telephony provided by a business VoIP provider.

Business VoIP (voice over internet protocol) is likely to be welcomed by most businesses in these areas as it can greatly reduce the cost of their phone bills. This is because business VoIP bypasses conventional telephone line network connections – and expensive conventional telephone line network tariffs – by allowing calls to be made at much cheaper rates over the internet.

VoIP also has the advantage of enabling a company to add additional telephone extensions quickly and easily as and when its business expands.

The £20 million fund is part of a series of measures to be taken as part of a UK government initiative – entitled Supporting Sustainable Upland Communities – to help reduce poverty and to encourage inclusiveness within remote and rural communities.

Many of the areas targeted – known in the industry as the ‘not spots’ – do not currently have any internet connection at all.

According to the UK’s Secretary of State for Media and Culture, Jeremy Hunt, remote and rural locations should, as a result of the new fund, be able to ‘share in the benefits of broadband…by the end of the Parliament’.

The new £20 million fund is in addition to a £530 million government fund already set up to encourage widespread super-fast broadband reach in the UK by 2015.