The technology startup community is being a given a much-needed boost and the chance to create new applications and services for the superfast broadband market, after BT and TechHub partnered to launch the BT Infinity Lab programme.
BT and TechHub – which creates spaces around the world where tech entrepreneurs can meet, work, learn and collaborate – are asking tech entrepreneurs to design and present innovative new uses and product prototypes, which will help internet users take advantage of superfast broadband.
BT is looking for new applications and services that can be marketed alongside BT’s existing products, which will reach millions of UK households. The winning entrepreneurs will receive six month’s support from BT, including access to knowledge and expertise from a wide range of areas, including research and development, engineering, legal and marketing. Winning start-ups will also gain membership at TechHub’s sold out community space in the heart of East London’s ‘Tech City’, offering business support, workspace and an international community of entrepreneurs exclusively for the tech industry.
The superfast broadband market in the UK is growing rapidly, with more than four million homes already accessing services, either via BT’s open network or Virgin Media’s. Seventy-three per cent of the country can now access superfast broadband, according to a recent Ofcom report.
Communications Minister Ed Vaizey welcomed the initiative. He said: “Broadband in the UK is now undergoing a radical transformation which will see 95 per cent of the nation having access to superfast speeds by 2017. TechHub and BT are to be congratulated on this brilliant initiative which will result in exciting new products and prototypes, helping all UK internet users to make the most of all the benefits superfast speed has to offer.”
As part of the partnership, BT will be launching the BT Infinity Lab showcase at one of TechHub’s London spaces. This will highlight how broadband is a key enabler for economic development through BT’s latest technology and products from start-ups selected through the Infinity Lab programme.
Jean-Marc Frangos, BT’s MD External innovation said: “At BT, we embrace an open innovation approach, working with industry and academic partners to diversify our product and service offering and develop new customer experiences. With this partnership, we are pleased to further extend our global innovation network and actively engage with the tech start-up community.”
Elizabeth Varley, Founder and CEO at TechHub, said: “Partnering with BT gives TechHub an unmissable opportunity to offer to tech start-ups. Working with BT gives entrepreneurs the chance to test their innovations with a major partner, receive specialised help and advice, and take advantage of the huge promotional reach offered by this bastion of British business. For UK start-ups or those wanting to enter the UK market, it’s an opportunity that’s usually hard to come by without partnerships like this one between TechHub and BT.”
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