Residents and businesses across South Oxfordshire are set to benefit from a substantial investment to secure superfast broadband across the vast majority of the district.
South Oxfordshire District Council has agreed to put forward £1 million to ensure that superfast broadband, which is currently being installed by BT as part of the Better Broadband for Oxfordshire project, will reach a minimum of 95 per cent of properties in the district, well exceeding the countywide target of 90 per cent coverage (88 per cent in South Oxfordshire) which is expected to be provided by December 2015.
Currently just 53 per cent of residential and business properties in South Oxfordshire are able to receive superfast broadband, with a large number of businesses and homes affected by slow download and upload speeds meaning that it can often be cumbersome to carry out work or take advantage of online entertainment.
In August 2013 Oxfordshire County Council, in partnership with BT and the Government, launched the Better Broadband for Oxfordshire, a £25 million programme aiming to ensure that at least 90 per cent of the county will have access to superfast broadband speeds of 24Mbps and above by the end of 2015.
As part of the Better Broadband for Oxfordshire Project district councils in Oxfordshire were given the option of making additional funding available to extend reach in their districts. South Oxfordshire District Council has agreed to exercise this option with a £1million investment and will work with the county council over the coming months to determine the additional coverage areas and dates for deployment.
Cllr Judith Nimmo-Smith, Cabinet Member for Economic Development, Property and Technical Services at South Oxfordshire District Council, said: “We are well aware that many residents and businesses in South Oxfordshire currently experience slow broadband speeds. The Better Broadband for Oxfordshire Project really set the ball rolling to address this and will provide a massive boost across the county.
“We were however very keen to ensure that we wouldn’t end up leaving small pockets of the community at a disadvantage. Our £1 million investment, together with the BDUK match funding, extends the reach of superfast broadband in South Oxfordshire that little bit further, making a big difference to many people across the district.”
The £1million investment by South Oxfordshire District Council will also be match funded by the Government’s BDUK (Broadband Delivery UK), which is responsible for managing the Rural Broadband Programme, bringing the total additional funding up to £2 million.
Over the coming months the district council will consider making a further investment which would contribute towards the remaining five per cent coverage across South Oxfordshire.