Programme Delivery Model
Broadband Delivery Programme
The majority of consumers who can get broadband currently do subscribe to broadband services from service providers – broadband take up as measured by Ofcom7 is 71% of UK households. While access to Superfast Broadband is available to nearly 50% of the population through the Virgin network and a growing percentage of the population through BT‟s fibre to the cabinet investment, national take-up is still very low.
Without any demand stimulation activity it is expected that in areas with little or no broadband coverage, if offered a good service at an affordable price, then demand will be high amongst consumers and businesses. In areas where there is an existing Standard Broadband service then without any demand stimulation activity conversion by consumers to a Superfast Broadband service may be low.
However, as society‟s use and expectations of the internet evolve over time, it is likely that demand for Superfast Broadband will increase unaided. In particular, as more applications become available and more widely used that require access to Superfast Broadband then there will be greater take-up by consumers and businesses.
There are fewer figures for take-up of Superfast Broadband services by small and medium businesses, but there is expected to be a similar pattern as with consumers. In areas with no broadband take-up will be high, but conversion between Standard and Superfast Broadband will be lower. The Broadband Delivery Programme is supporting a survey being undertaken by the Communication Management Association (part of BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT) to Federation of Small Businesses members to better understand their demand for Superfast Broadband.
The Broadband Delivery Programme is exploring the viability of a number of measures to assist in stimulating demand for Superfast Broadband services. This will be based on working with other parties. For example, BDUK will be working centrally with the Race Online 2012 initiative (see section 7.11 for specific items) which is seeking to recruit digital champions who can act within their community to help people get online and make good use of their broadband service. BDUK is expecting to work with Race Online to increase the number of digital champions in areas where a local broadband project is upgrading the infrastructure.
A significant proportion of activities related to demand stimulation actually falls under the heading of demand registration – i.e. encouraging consumers and businesses to notify their interest in Superfast Broadband retail services. The private sector and other parties such as the BBC also have an interest in stimulating demand for broadband services through developing and offering devices, applications and content that consumers and businesses will be interested in. The Broadband Delivery Programme does not intend to become involved with or substitute for these activities that are best left without government intervention.
BDUK will expect local bodies to provide details in their Local Broadband Plans of how they plan to stimulate consumer and business demand, particularly under the development phase described in paragraph 9.2.3 above.
BDUK is promoting the use of a community portal for broadband. A role for this portal will be to give local communities guidance on developing demand stimulation activities of their own. BT‟s recent Race to Infinity competition showed that high levels of registration in individual areas, including 100% in some instances, is potentially achievable. The community portal is discussed further in section 10.3.4.
Ofcom Communications Market Report, 23 August 2010