Around 6,500 additional homes and businesses across Oxfordshire will be able to receive high-speed fibre broadband following additional £5.1 million funding announced this week.
The project will extend the Better Broadband for Oxfordshire partnership roll-out, which began connecting the first homes and businesses to faster fibre broadband just over a year ago. Since then it has enabled more than 30,000 premises to have access to high-speed fibre broadband.
The new deal injects further funding into the County Council’s contract with BT, adding £1 million from South Oxfordshire District Council, £250,000 from the Vale of the White Horse District Council, £500,000 from Cherwell District Council, , £200,000 from Oxfordshire County Council, £1.2m from BT, and a further £1.95m from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport’s Superfast Extension Programme (SEP).
Councillor John Cotton, Leader of South Oxfordshire District Council, said: “Our extra £1 million investment, together with the BDUK match funding, extends the reach of superfast broadband in South Oxfordshire in the small pockets that currently experience slower coverage. This will make a big difference for many people across the district.”
When complete, it will increase the percentage of homes and businesses able to access high-speed fibre broadband in Oxfordshire to around 95 per cent, when combined with the first phase of the Better Broadband for Oxfordshire roll-out already underway and the private sector investments.
Digital Economy Minister, Ed Vaizey, explained that the announcement marks the next step in the transformation of the digital landscape of Oxfordshire.
He said:”We want as many people as possible to enjoy the benefits of superfast broadband, and this new £5.1 million investment will help us reach thousands more local homes and businesses. By 2017, 95 per cent of the UK will be able to access superfast speeds and I congratulate Better Broadband for Oxfordshire for the remarkable progress they have made already in helping us deliver this.”
Planning and surveying on the new phase will begin in the Autumn, and engineers from Openreach – BT’s local network business – will start building and installing the fibre and structures before the end of the year, expanding the reach of fibre alongside the Better Broadband for Oxfordshire programme already underway.
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’, people will have a choice of who they take their service from, with more than 140 fibre broadband providers currently operating in the UK.
More details about the communities to benefit from this new funding will be announced later this Spring and local people will be able to follow its progress via the Better Broadband for Oxfordshire website.