Multi-million pound boost fuels expansion of high-speed fibre broadband across Oxfordshire | Oxfordshire County Council
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Multi-million pound boost fuels expansion of high-speed fibre broadband across Oxfordshire

Published 23 June 2016

Up to £6.75 million cash injection will extend fibre network to even more remote communities. Second phase of Better Broadband for Oxfordshire underway after first part completed on time and under budget. Digital Economy Minister Ed Vaizey hails ‘tremendous progress’.

Big savings have been made during Oxfordshire County Council's highly successful roll-out of high-speed fibre broadband through the Better Broadband for Oxfordshire programme and BT - and these funds could now enable the fibre network to be extended into some of Oxfordshire's most isolated communities.

The first phase of the broadband programme exceeded many of its targets, and, as a result, the county is expecting up to £6.75 million of funds to be made available.

Since the roll-out began more than two years ago, Better Broadband for Oxfordshire has made faster fibre broadband available to more than 70,000 county premises – 64,500 of which have access to superfast broadband speeds of 24 megabits per second (Mbps) and above.

And households and businesses have been quick to take advantage of the faster broadband. More than a third of those able to access the new technology as a result of the Better Broadband for Oxfordshire roll-out have already opted for an upgrade. This high demand has helped to trigger the further reinvestment through the county's partnership with BT.

The Government, which contributes to Oxfordshire's programme through its Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) arm, has praised the county council's progress.

Digital Economy Minister Ed Vaizey said:  "The Better Broadband for Oxfordshire project has made tremendous progress having taken superfast speeds to 64,500 additional homes and businesses in Oxfordshire. We are on track to reach 95 per cent of the UK by 2017, and this funding will deliver a welcome boost in broadband speed to even more Oxfordshire residents."

Following the completion of the first phase of the roll-out, work is progressing well on the second phase which will enable 12,000 further premises to connect to high-speed broadband by the end of next year.

County Cabinet Member Nick Carter said: “The first phase of Better Broadband for Oxfordshire was completed on time, and close collaboration between Oxfordshire County Council and BT has enabled some £4.2 million in savings to be made. 

“At the same time, the high take-up of the new service has triggered a further £2.55m to be made available by BT for further coverage to be rolled out.

“This will enable fibre broadband access for even more households and businesses, including a number of the county’s smallest communities.

“When considered against the county council's initial £10m investment and BDUK's £4m, this shows a terrific return and is evidence of the successful collaboration with our co-funding partner BT, who contributed £11m.

“We’re currently evaluating feedback from the public consultation we ran in the Spring and will use the results to help us plan how best to invest the funds that are available.”

Steve Henderson, BT’s regional director for broadband partnerships, said: “More than 270,000 premises across Oxfordshire are now able to access faster fibre broadband as a result of BT’s own investment and the Better Broadband for Oxfordshire roll-out.

“Every day we’re hearing how the technology is changing people’s lives for the better, whether it’s families wanting to connect several devices to the internet at the same time, or a small business needing to share large pieces of information with their customers and suppliers – everything is easier, better and faster with fibre broadband.”

The results of the council’s public consultation will be published later in the Summer.

In the meantime, local people can track the progress of the Better Broadband for Oxfordshire roll-out via the website – www.betterbroadbandoxfordshire.org.uk

Residents and businesses choosing to upgrade will be able to get download speeds of up to 80 megabits per second (80Mbps) and upload speeds of up to 20Mbps*. Because the Openreach network is ‘open,’ local people can choose from a wide range of fibre broadband providers, with more than 140 currently operating in the UK.

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