Vodafone is relaunching its offer of 12 months free broadband for small businesses, hoping the deal will aid their post-pandemic recoveries after a challenging year for many.
Lockdown restrictions and social distancing measures mean offices, shops and hospitality venues have been forced to close, while economic challenges have stifled demand.
SMBs that have been able to continue operating have become increasingly reliant on their broadband connection to support a disparate workforce and serve customers. For example, cloud-based collaboration tools allow staff to work together remotely, while e-commerce platforms allow retailers to make sales.
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Vodafone SMB broadband
Many of these changes will permanent, with Covid-19 acting as a catalyst for digitisation. The offer of free broadband will aid the SMB community by eliminating at least one short-term cost and encourage businesses to identify areas that can be transformed through connectivity.
Any firm with up to 50 staff can take advantage of the offer if they sign up for a 36-month contract before June 17. After 12 months, businesses are charged the usual rate for whichever package they select. Existing Vodafone customers can also sign up provided they are eligible for an upgrade.
Businesses that successfully digitise will have an increasingly large customer base to target. The pandemic has had a huge impact on consumers who have also become reliant on their connection for commerce, work, education, entertainment, and communication.
Adults with previously limited digital skills have been encouraged to go online to keep in touch with friends and family, to shop online, or access digital banking services, often with the assistance of a younger person.
Ofcom figures show the number of households without Internet access fall from 11% in March 2020 to just 6% now. That equates to an additional 1.5 million homes.
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Steve McCaskill is TechRadar Pro's resident mobile industry expert, covering all aspects of the UK and global news, from operators to service providers and everything in between. He is a former editor of Silicon UK and journalist with over a decade's experience in the technology industry, writing about technology, in particular, telecoms, mobile and sports tech, sports, video games and media.