Vodafone is offering free broadband for a year to small businesses to help them deal with the impacts of rising costs. The support package is available until November 24 and is open to all small businesses as well as existing Vodafone Business customers who are eligible to upgrade. Businesses can save up to £348 on broadband costs for a year, giving them that extra help at a time when many need it the most. Vodafone is also offering new customers a £200 gift card to help with utility bills to give back during this difficult time.
This comes as rising energy bills and fuel hikes are plaguing small businesses, according to a recent study by Vodafone. Research found that 53% of small business owners said this energy and fuel costs are their biggest hurdles, followed by transport and distribution costs (30%) and expensive raw materials (28%). 98% of businesses said good connectivity was crucial for the running of their company. Unfortunately, some cannot afford to stay connected. 35% of businesses said they were forced to downgrade, cancel and considered cutting their broadband service to save money. In addition, more than a quarter (28%) of small businesses said they will not be hiring new staff over the next 12 months because of the cost of living crisis. The research surveyed 1000 small businesses.
Nick Gliddon, Director of Business at Vodafone said: “With growing uncertainty in the economy coupled with spiralling business costs, Vodafone will continue to support small businesses who are the key drivers of employment, income, innovation and economic growth. This new offer of 12-months free broadband means one less bill to contend with for small businesses, who we hope can reinvest the money saved where it’s needed most.”
Lizzie Carter, founder of Only Curls comments: “The past couple of years have been challenging for small business like mine. First of all, Brexit lost us all of our EU business, then the pandemic hit hard, and now the cost-of-living crisis combined with a rise in corporation tax is our next challenge to face. One thing that has helped my business financially is keeping my team working remotely, by avoiding additional rent or business rates, I have been able to invest in staff, stock and marketing to help my business grow. The team all enjoy working from home as it allows them more time with family, more flexibility on where they choose to live, and means no costs for commuting. Good Wi-Fi is essential for us, from all our virtual meetings, to marketing on our social channels, to banking, to running the website. Our e-commerce business simply would not exist without Wi-Fi.”
Now, Vodafone plans to help small businesses and facilitate their day-to-day operations during this difficult time. To get set up with the free broadband, small businesses will only need to purchase a one-time setup fee of £20 with no further payment required until the 13th month. Once the initial 12-month period has passed, the monthly fee will return to the standard rate of £26 (excl. VAT) per month for Business Broadband Superfast 1 and £29 (excl. VAT) per month for Business Broadband Superfast 2.
Customers can also upgrade their 12-month free broadband to a 24-month plan which includes access to the V-Hub by Vodafone small business digital support platform, offering extensive resources on key aspects of operating in a more digitalised world and free access to an advisor either on the phone or online. Businesses can also have access to the business.connected programme in partnership with Enterprise Nation, which is committed to upskilling digital proficiencies in small businesses.