BDUK Spends £5m On Superfast Broadband Marketing

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DCMS figures show marketing expenses for BDUK over six month period

The government spent £5 million of Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK)’s budget on marketing the advantages of faster speeds to consumers and businesses between September 2014 and February 2015.

A print, TV and outdoor advertising campaign was launched late last year in a bid to increase adoption of superfast broadband, the rollout of which has been aided by government funding through BDUK in order to cover areas deemed to be not economically viable by commercial deployments.

The campaign advertised both consumer services as well as the availability of vouchers worth up to £3,000 for SMBs to upgrade their connectivity.

BDUK marketing cost

packetfrontFigures released by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) detailing transactions of more than £25,000 show several payments to media agencies for advertising and creative agencies for the production of marketing materials.

The largest of these was a £1.08 million payment to Carat UK in February. ISPreview also notes DCMS spent an additional £921,586 on administration fees during the same period.

The government is targeting 95 percent superfast broadband coverage by 2017 and as of May 2015, BDUK had handed out £301.4 million to local authorities with 2.4 million premises connected. Local government must match any public funding received, while BT, which has won the vast majority of BDUK cash, has investment significant amounts of its own money too.

Separately, 26,255 super connected city vouchers have been issued to date, with £39.9 million handed out at an average of £1,521 per business.

BT’s rivals have argued BDUK has effectively provided state assistance to the company, and Sky has said the fact the government has had to advertise superfast broadband itself shows competition has been distorted.

However the government will likely point out that the increased awareness has resulted in benefits for the taxpayer. BT’s adoption forecasts have increased from 20 percent to 30 percent in BDUK areas, requiring the company to return £129 million to authorities, which can reinvest in further coverage.

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