Vodafone is offering 12 months of free broadband to small businesses increasingly reliant on connectivity during the current pandemic.
Lockdown restrictions and social distancing measures mean offices, shops and hospitality venues have been forced to close, while economic challenges have stifled demand.
If a business can move some of its activities online, then it can identify a path to short-term survival and long-term gains through digitisation. Cloud-based collaboration tools allow staff to work together remotely, while e-commerce platforms allow retailers to make sales.
Vodafone UK CEO
Research from Enterprise Nation, a small business community network of 60,000 businesspeople, suggests more than half of SMBs are now running entirely online, while 71% are more reliant on broadband than ever. More than 9 in 10 (94%) have used video conferencing services during the pandemic.
Vodafone hopes the offer of free connectivity will encourage SMBs to explore these possibilities and eliminate at least one short-term cost. The Newbury-based telco had offered businesses six months of free broadband at the start of the pandemic.
Any firm with up to 50 staff can take advantage of the offer if they sign up for a 36-month contract. After 12 months, businesses are charged the usual rate for whichever package they select. There is a £20 set up fee and existing Vodafone customers can also sign up provided they are eligible for an upgrade.
“The message to small businesses is clear: we’re here to help,” said Anne Sheehan, Business Director, Vodafone UK. “Businesses need to be running as efficiently as possible in 2021 – that means getting online, using the best digital tools, getting the best business advice, and spending as little money as possible. It’s great to see how businesses adapted throughout last year, and we’re here to help more do the same in 2021.”