17
March
2017
|
17:39
Europe/Amsterdam

Government Minister hails superfast broadband boost for Oxfordshire economy

Summary
Matt Hancock, the Minister of State for Digital and Culture, has hailed the pace of the Better Broadband for Oxfordshire roll-out as a ‘tremendous boost for the local economy’. The partnership - led by Oxfordshire County Council and BT - has already reached more than 6,500 businesses including leading companies at Milton Park.

Matt Hancock, the Minister of State for Digital and Culture, has hailed the pace of the Better Broadband for Oxfordshire roll-out as a ‘tremendous boost for the local economy’.

He saw first-hand how the technology is driving innovation and transforming the way Oxfordshire firms do business during his visit to Milton Park today (Friday).

The whole area – part of Science Vale UK Enterprise Zone – now has access to faster fibre broadband thanks to Better Broadband for Oxfordshire (BBfO).

The £35 million BBfO roll-out is being led by Oxfordshire County Council and BT, with additional funding from Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (OxLEP). It is part of the Government’s Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) programme and builds on private sector investment.

Across Oxfordshire more than 70,000 businesses and households now have access to superfast fibre broadband as a result of BBfO. The figure rises to around 273,000 when combined with commercial roll-outs.*

The Rt. Hon Matt Hancock MP said: “Nine out of 10 homes and businesses can now get superfast broadband, and we’re reaching thousands more every week. I’m delighted we’ve now reached more than 70,000 additional properties in Oxfordshire, providing a tremendous boost to the local economy, and helping make sure that the people of Oxfordshire have the connectivity they need in today’s digital society.”

More than 6,500 Oxfordshire businesses can now access the technology as a result of the BBfO roll-out, including around 250 firms on Milton Park, home to some of the county’s most dynamic industries, innovative small and medium businesses and world-leading life science companies.

Among them are Motors.co.uk, the online car specialists, based in Olympic Avenue, and printing and design experts, Carbon Colour, whose bosses welcomed the new development.

Phill Jones, managing director of Motors.co.uk, said: “As an online business, fast and reliable internet access is critical for our operation. It is great to see investment in the infrastructure to support the growth of businesses like ours and others in Oxfordshire.”

Nigel Allen, managing director of Carbon Colour, said: “As a print and display company we rely on fast broadband to send and receive large image files, so welcome the arrival of fibre broadband to Milton Park. This superfast service will increase our productivity and help us beat the tightest of deadlines that can be a problem when using just basic broadband.”

Councillor Ian Hudspeth, leader of Oxfordshire County Council, said: “We’re delighted that all businesses at Milton Park are now able to choose a connectivity service which offers choice and affordability to innovative companies who are helping to boost a critical segment of the economy, not just here in Oxfordshire, but around the UK.”

Engineers from Openreach – BT’s local network business – have installed five new fibre broadband cabinets on Milton Park and more than four kilometres of fibre optic cable.

As a result, many households in nearby Milton village that were previously not able to access fibre can now get the many benefits of the technology.

Councillor Hudspeth added: “We expect at least 95 per cent of Oxfordshire premises to have access to superfast broadband by December, and I’m delighted to announce an ambition to improve on this. In partnership with BT, we are finalising plans to make the technology available to a further 2,000 premises as a result of contract savings achieved in this successful programme to date.

“We’re also about to launch a co-funding scheme whereby Oxfordshire County Council will support those very rural or very small communities which are too expensive to upgrade using public funds alone.”

Further details are available on the BBfO website: www.betterbroadbandoxfordshire.org.uk

Nigel Tipple, chief executive of OxLEP, which contributed £2 million to the BBfO programme to enable more businesses in the Enterprise Zone to get superfast broadband, said: “This is a great step forward for Oxfordshire. Introducing superfast broadband at Milton Park, along with our wider programme of improvements to digital connectivity in Oxfordshire, means we have a great platform to ensure network capacity is available for our modern businesses to thrive and grow, benefitting the local economy.”

Phillip Campbell, Milton Park’s commercial director, said: “Giving Milton Park businesses plenty of choice when it comes to broadband services is very important to us. The timing of the extra service fits nicely with our new Park Drive East development.”

Steve Henderson, BT’s regional director for broadband partnerships, said: “Superfast fibre broadband is transforming the way people do business and communicate. Whether it’s downloading or sharing large files and other information with customers, suppliers or employees, or uploading graphics and photographs, everything is easier and faster with fibre technology. As a result, it makes firms more efficient and competitive, and opens up new and exciting trading opportunities for local businesses across the county and around the world.”

The Openreach network is ‘open’, which means businesses and households choosing to upgrade have a wide choice of fibre broadband providers. The FTTC network provides access to download speeds of up to 80 megabits per second (Mbps) and uploads of up to 20Mbps**.

Notes to Editors

*Source: www.thinkbroadband.co.uk

**Speeds referred to are the top wholesale speeds available from Openreach to all service providers; speeds offered by service providers may vary.

---ends---

Issued by Oxfordshire County Council and BT on behalf of the Better Broadband for Oxfordshire partnership.

Press contacts:

For more information please contact Emily Reed at Oxfordshire County Council on 01865 323 870 or email:emily.reed@oxfordshire.gov.ukTwitter: @OxfordshireCC

Or

Emma Tennant at the BT regional press office on 0800 085 0660, email: emma.tennant@bt.com

Twitter: @EmmaTennantBTAll BT news releases are available at: http://www.btplc.com/News

About Better Broadband for Oxfordshire

Better Broadband for Oxfordshire is a partnership between Oxfordshire County Council, BT and BDUK.

The first phase of the programme was comprised of £25 million of funding: £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 going live in December 2013.

Further funding of £5.1 million to roll out fibre broadband was announced in February 2015 and construction work began earlier this year. Funding was made up of £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, £1.2m from BT, and a further £1.95m from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport’s Superfast Extension Programme (SEP).

Additional funding of £5.58 million was announced in November 2015. This will increase the percentage of county homes and businesses able to get superfast fibre broadband to more than 95 per cent when combined with earlier phases of the Better Broadband for Oxfordshire programme and the private sector’s commercial roll-out of the technology. This funding comprises: £2 million from the Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP); £120,000 from the South East Midlands LEP and Cherwell District Council; £168,000 from Oxford City Council; £2.2 million from the Government’s Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) programme and £1.1 million from BT. When combined the additional funding adds a further 12,000 premises to the programme.

For further details to go: www.betterbroadbandoxfordshire.org.uk

Better Broadband for Oxfordshire has now completed its planned work in West Oxfordshire. Further roll-out is being carried out here by Cotswold Broadband, which is separate from Better Broadband for Oxfordshire.

About Superfast Britain

Superfast Britain is a Government programme of investment in broadband and communication infrastructure across the UK. Run by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, this investment helps businesses to grow, creates jobs and will make Britain more competitive in the global race.

The portfolio is comprised of three elements:

  1. £790m to extend superfast broadband to 95% of the UK by 2017;
  2. £150m to provide high-speed broadband to businesses in 22 cities; and
  3. £150m to improve quality and coverage of mobile phone and basic data network services.

    Administered on behalf of Government by Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK), Superfast Britain is transforming Britain by promoting growth, enabling skills and learning, and improving quality of life.

    For further information: https://www.gov.uk/broadband-delivery-uk

    About BT

    BT’s purpose is to use the power of communications to make a better world. It is one of the world’s leading providers of communications services and solutions, serving customers in 180 countries. Its principal activities include the provision of networked IT services globally; local, national and international telecommunications services to its customers for use at home, at work and on the move; broadband, TV and internet products and services; and converged fixed-mobile products and services. BT consists of six customer-facing lines of business: Consumer, EE, Business and Public Sector, Global Services, Wholesale and Ventures, and Openreach.

    For the year ended 31 March 20161, BT Group’s reported revenue was £19,012m with reported profit before taxation of £2,907m.

    British Telecommunications plc (BT) is a wholly-owned subsidiary of BT Group plc and encompasses virtually all businesses and assets of the BT Group. BT Group plc is listed on stock exchanges in London and New York.

    1The results for the period have been revised to reflect the outcome of the investigation into our Italian business. Detail of which is set out in our third quarter results announcement published on 27 January 2017. This financial information is unaudited.

    For more information, visitwww.btplc.com.

    About Openreach

Openreach is the UK’s leading digital infrastructure provider.

Its 32,000 employees are responsible for building and maintaining millions of miles of fibre and copper cables that connect every home and business in the UK to local telephone exchanges. Openreach operates and maintains this network to deliver a range of wholesale services for more than 560 retail providers, who in-turn provide telephony, broadband, TV and data services to more than 30 million consumer and business customers throughout the country.

Openreach is a highly regulated business, with more than 90 per cent of its revenues generated from services that are regulated by Ofcom. Any company can access its products under exactly the same prices, terms and conditions.

Over the last decade, Openreach has invested more than £10bn into its network and is currently building the UK’s largest fibre broadband footprint. This technology is available to more than 26 million homes and businesses, with tens of thousands more gaining access each week.

Openreach is a wholly owned and independently governed division of the BT Group. For the year ended 31 March 2016, it reported revenues of £5.1bn.

For more information, visitopenreach.co.uk