UK venues are being invited to pitch for a slice of a £250,000 government funding pot to improve in-house broadband capabilities.
The competition, launched by Tourism Minister, Rebecca Pow, is designed to help the UK attract more overseas business events.
Applications for funding are open to conference, meeting and hotel venues with event facilities for more than 400 delegates, and who bid for - or plan to bid for - events which attract international delegates.
Tourism Minister, Rebecca Pow said: “We want the UK to attract the biggest and best international business events to help grow our economy and encourage trade and investment. Ensuring our conference facilities can deliver the connectivity and facilities organisers want and need is crucial to help achieve this and there is a great deal of scope to expand this area.”
To be eligible, venues must have hosted at least one international event in the last year where 30% of attendees were from outside the UK, or be able to demonstrate plans to do so in the next year.
The winners of the DCMS-run scheme will be able to upgrade their connectivity to full fibre access, supporting faster data speeds and higher usage volumes.
It will also allow successful venues to offer live streaming of events to international audiences, increased wifi capacity and a capability for more interactive content.
Michael Hirst, Chair of the Events Industry Board said: “The business events industry welcomes the UK government’s new £250,000 competition to improve broadband connectivity in event venues. This is a strong recognition of the importance of helping to support the growth of first-class infrastructure in Britain’s large range of diverse world-class business event facilities. It will help immensely in continuing to present Britain as a leading global destination for business events.”
The application process is now open and the deadline is 11:59pm on Friday 27th September. The application is a Google form, which must be completed in one sitting as it can’t be saved and exited.
The competition is part of the government’s Tourism Sector Deal, announced back in June, which aims to prepare Britain for an extra nine million visitors per year. It includes a commitment to build 130,000 new hotel rooms by 2025.
Earlier this month, new UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson also revealed his ambition to deliver “full fibre” ultrafast broadband nationwide by 2025.
By Mike Fletcher