As part of the Rural Gigabit Connectivity Programme (2019 to 2022), BDUK invested in connecting remote public buildings like schools and GP surgeries to gigabit broadband, referred to as the “Hub” product. This interim report is part of a multi-stage evaluation and reviews the impacts of the Hub product by the end of 2022, a year after the majority of RGC delivery concluded.
Key findings of the evaluation undertaken by Belmana with Winning Moves and Hatch:
- there is evidence that the Hub investments have increased broadband availability and uptake around the connected public buildings
- surveys of schools connected to Hubs found high satisfaction with the new connections and increased use of the internet and educational technologies in teaching and administration after getting the upgrade
- awareness of the Hub investments was relatively low among residents living near Hubs, but there was some evidence of community-led take-up schemes around the Hubs. Residents near Hubs were more likely to cite being part of a community initiative as motivation for getting better broadband
- businesses near Hubs experienced similar benefits to those seen more widely in the voucher scheme used to subsidise individual connections, like adopting new sales methods