A competition has been established for conference centres across the UK to apply for funding to improve broadband infrastructure. The aim is to enable the business events sector to host more international conferences at UK venues. For the purpose of this competition, an international event is one where at least 30% of the total delegates/visitors attending in person are international (non-UK) visitors.

Winners will be able to upgrade their existing connectivity to full fibre broadband which will support faster data speeds and higher usage volumes. This forms part of the government’s commitment to rollout the required digital infrastructure to create more opportunities for businesses.

The competition will fund a number of projects with a combined total of £250,000. Exact costs will vary between locations, however, the average value per project will be approximately £30,000.

The funding can be used to purchase upgraded connectivity, using either an existing contract, or a competitive procurement. The upgraded connectivity will be in the form of new Gigabit capable infrastructure, which will support new services so that venues will be able to enlist additional services, for example increased Wi-Fi capacity, more interactive content and live streaming.

Applications are open to private sector event venues with conference facilities, including hotels and event centres, that bid for - or plan to bid for - events which attract international delegates. The venue must be in the United Kingdom and have a capacity of 400+ 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.

"Our Tourism Sector Deal is providing a broadband boost to the country’s business events industry, and I would encourage all eligible venues to apply."

The application process is now open and the deadline for applications is at 11:59pm on Friday 27 September 2019.

More details here.