Strategies for superfast demand stimulation

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Why is demand stimulation important?

With planning and deployment of superfast broadband networks well underway in the UK, focus is shifting to stimulating demand for the superfast services this infrastructure will enable. Without take-up, the economic benefits that superfast broadband can bring to the country will simply not materialise.

Demand stimulation has come to the fore now for several reasons. Most pressingly, local authorities need to include demand stimulation and community engagement in their Local Broadband Plans in order to demonstrate to potential suppliers that there are prospective customers in their areas.

Meanwhile community-based projects have to get their constituents on board if their schemes are to prove successful. And commercial players already deploying superfast services are looking to build take-up numbers in order to gain a return on investment as quickly as possible.

Point Topic has just published a report that highlights various approaches to superfast broadband demand stimulation. It draws initial conclusions regarding what works best and where the key challenges lie, and sets out examples of strategies that are bringing in results.

Best practice approaches, so far

The initial superfast broadband pilots produced some guidance as to the practical approaches to demand stimulation. However, evidence to date suggests that no one approach fits all types of player or geographic area, and that the manner in which these approaches are delivered can affect
how successful they are.

Point Topic identifies nine areas that have supported successful campaigns:

  • Bringing in a competitive edge

The competitive element is a strong factor in encouraging participation. Instilling friendly rivalry into a demand registration campaign acts as a spur to those involved.

  • Local campaigning and belief are key

Strong, active support by local people counts for much. It is local campaigning and support that ultimately counts in demand registration.

  • Building broader and more local partnerships

Good broad partnerships, especially local ones, may produce better results than expensive marketing campaigns.

  • Being really local

Focusing on the local approach gives residents a sense of involvement and accountability, which has shown to be extremely important.

  • Community and business champions really work

An extension of the local aspect, the local champion schemes that get individuals involved to act as ambassadors for superfast broadband, have real traction – areas in which they are active see better registration numbers than areas without.

  • Parish Councils and providing them support

The experience of the superfast broadband pilots and others show that parish councils can play an important role in building the bridge between grassroots champions and county councils.

  • Targeting resource where it is most needed

Using a strategic approach to identify who is most likely and who is less likely to take up superfast services can enable the most efficient use of budgets.

  • Provide practical IT support

Practical help should be offered at the sign-up stage to get residents and more importantly businesses using superfast broadband as more than simply a quicker email and browsing facility.

  • Create emotional connections

Creating an emotional connection, whether for the good of the community or with the services on offer, appears to boost demand, especially among the residential sector.

Find out more

The full report is available to subscribers of Point Topic’s UK Plus research service.

UK Plus is a focused data,  analysis, reporting and news service for professionals working in the UK  broadband sector. For more information, please contact contactus@point-topic.com.