Better Broadband for Oxfordshire is a partnership between Oxfordshire County Council, BT and BDUK (Department for Digital, Media, Culture and Sport). The aim of the programme is to install fibre broadband infrastructure in areas of market failure, enabling some 80,000 homes and businesses to access superfast broadband where this would never have been otherwise possible. This is a significant enabler for growth in the Oxfordshire economy whilst enabling thousands of people to access digital services, including online services provided by the public sector.
All homes and businesses should benefit
Making sure that everyone has access to some form of broadband connection will boost business efficiency, streamline and reduce costs for providing the council’s numerous customer services. It will also enrich leisure and social time; almost everyone will benefit from this major investment.
Phase 3 (current phase)
The third phase of the programme will be entirely funded by savings-to-date and the early contractual windfall paid by BT of £2.56m, which has arisen due to the high level of take-up from services already delivered. This has formed two new funds totalling £4m, which will go towards enabling another 3,000 homes and business premises to superfast broadband.
The Better Broadband for Oxfordshire programme has now completed its planned work in West Oxfordshire. Further roll-out is being carried out by West Oxon District Council, which is separate from the Better Broadband for Oxfordshire Programme.
Phase 2 - completed 2017
The second phase of the programme ended in December 2017 and enabled a further 11,111 premises in the county access to superfast broadband. The total funding for this phase was an additional £10.2 million. Funding was made up of:
- £2m from OxLEP
- £1 million from South Oxfordshire District Council
- £500,000 from Cherwell District Council
- £250,000 from the Vale of the White Horse District Council
- £200,000 from Oxfordshire County Council
- £150,000 from Oxford City Council
- £120,000 from SEMLEP, £2m from BT
- £4m from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.
Phase 1 - completed 2015
The original project was completed in December 2015 and targeted 64,500 premises. This phase of the programme comprised of £25 million of funding with £10m from Oxfordshire County Council, £4m from the Government (Broadband Delivery UK) and £11m from BT. Engineering work on this phase began in August 2013 with the first homes and businesses delivered in December 2013. This phase completed on time, on target and under budget.
Rural Gigabit Connectivity (RGC) programme
This is a two year 'outside-in' approach to rollout gigabit-capable full fibre broadband to the most rural and remote locations across the UK. The RGC programme has initially prioritised rural sites in Cornwall, Cumbria, Northumberland and Pembrokeshire, followed by additional sites in Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales; the rest of England is yet to be announced.
The rollout will commence as a trial model in rural areas to connect eligible public sector buildings, such as primary schools, with gigabit-capable connectivity and will also enable the surrounding area to be viable for commercial intervention.
There is also a voucher available for the harder-to-reach places in the UK that may be eligible for additional funding towards the cost of installation when part of a group project. Rural premises with broadband speeds of less than 100Mbps can use vouchers up to:
- £3,500 for small and medium-sized businesses (SME)
- £1,500 per residential premises
Do you want ultra fast broadband?
The Department of Digital, Culture, Media & Sport have launched the Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme, which the Better Broadband programme are facilitating for homes and businesses across Oxfordshire.
Full fibre broadband connections offer the fastest and most reliable speeds available and the government is committed to a vision of a full fibre Britain. As part of this commitment in March 2018, a £67 million Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme was announced. Gigabit vouchers can be used by small and medium sized businesses and the local communities surrounding them to contribute to the installation cost of a gigabit capable connection. Businesses can claim up to £2,500 against the cost of connection either individually or as part of a group project. Residents can benefit from the scheme as part of a group project which also includes businesses and can claim for a voucher of up to a value of £500 (plus VAT).
One gigabit is the same as 1,000 megabits (Mb) - so it’s a big leap forward in connection speeds that could benefit you and your business into the future.
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