Published: 29th Mar 2017
The publication of purchases over the value of £25,000 made by Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) has revealed that the organisation spent over £5 million of its budget on advertising the benefits of superfast broadband and producing marketing materials. The data applies to marketing across the country between September 2014 and February 2015.
BDUK was created by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport to manage the rollout of fibre broadband to 95 per cent of homes and businesses by 2017, and was given a £1.7 billion budget to do so. The promised connections will have an average speed of 24Mbps.
A large part of the marketing spend (which totalled £5.041 million) seems to have gone on a government-backed TV advert that was released in December, as part of a shift to a more proactive approach to promotion efforts.
The largest single payment in the figures was for £1.08 million, which was billed by Carat UK, a media agency. A further £921,586 was spent on administration.
As of May 2015, BDUK had provided £301.4 million to local authorities, resulting in the connection of 2.4 million properties. Thus far, it has also issued 26,255 super connected city vouchers worth a total of £39.9 million - an average of £1,521 per business, compared to the maximum value of £3,000.
In terms of internet providers, BT has received the majority of the funding available, leading to criticisms that BDUK is effectively providing state assistance for a private company.
Rival company Sky has even suggested that the need to advertise the benefits of superfast broadband shows that the competition has been unfairly distorted.
However, BT’s adoption forecasts have now risen from 20 per cent to 30 per cent in areas covered by BDUK. This means that it has been required to pay back £129 million to the government, which plans to reinvest the money in further internet provision efforts.
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