Minister Ed Vaizey hails major milestone for ambitious Oxfordshire high-speed fibre broadband programme

More than 20,000 homes and businesses now within reach of high-speed broadband thanks to ‘Better Broadband for Oxfordshire’; 

South Oxfordshire village businesses celebrate arrival of superfast fibre broadband - where take-up has been ‘superfast’
More than 20,000 homes and businesses across the county are now able to access faster fibre broadband as part of the multi-million pound ‘Better Broadband for Oxfordshire’ programme, partners Oxfordshire County Council and BT announced today.

The major milestone was hailed by Ed Vaizey - Minister of State for Culture and the Digital Economy and MP for Didcot and Wantage - as a significant achievement on the journey to bring fibre broadband to Oxfordshire.
Better Broadband for Oxfordshire is part of the Government’s Broadband Delivery UK programme (BDUK) which yesterday (Thursday) announced 1.5 million premises up and down the country are now able to access superfast broadband as a result of public-private sector partnerships like this one.

Ed Vaizey was in the village of Sutton Courtenay today, with representatives from the partnership, to meet some of the first businesses and residents there to benefit from upgrading to the new faster fibre-enabled broadband.

Ed Vaizey said: “I am delighted that Oxfordshire – and in particular, my constituency, has reached this very important stage. Work will continue across the county and the country to ensure that high-speed broadband is rolled out so that we can all benefit from the advantages it brings.”

Four of the five new metal road-side cabinets that are needed to connect more than 1,000 premises in the village to the new fibre optic network have just ‘gone live’ and local businesses have been quick to upgrade.

Among them is Derek Johnson, Chartered Certified Accountant at Johnson & Co, based in The Nursery, Sutton Courtenay. He said: “The improvements have been immediately noticeable – for example, checking and managing online accounts is much quicker.

“Also, using online resources for continuing professional development and training is now possible, giving us the opportunity to develop and grow as a business.”

When an area has gone live, people who choose to upgrade have access to broadband download speeds of up to 80 megabits per second (Mbps) and upload speeds of up to 20Mbps.
Because the network is being built by engineers from Openreach – BT’s local network business – businesses and residents have a choice of who they take their fibre broadband service from, with more than 140 suppliers of fibre broadband currently operating in the UK.

Meanwhile, James Orchard, a director at Home Helpers Care, is looking forward to upgrading soon.
He said: “We’re very excited about the possibilities this new technology will bring, not least because of the way it will enable us to improve some of our working practices by moving to Cloud-based systems.”

Better Broadband for Oxfordshire will make superfast fibre broadband available to 64,500 homes and businesses across the county by the end of 2015. It aims to ensure at least 90 per cent of the county’s premises have access to broadband speeds of at least 24Mbps, by building on the commercial fibre roll-out of BT and other companies.

Councillor Nick Carter, Cabinet Member for Business & Customer Services, said: “These developments are a fine example of the benefits that superfast fibre-enabled broadband can bring to small businesses across Oxfordshire with so many quickly recognising the arrival of superfast broadband as an opportunity to expand their businesses.

“I hope to see many more businesses taking advantage of the technology, bringing greater diversity to our economy.”

Bill Murphy, BT managing director of next generation access, said: “Better Broadband for Oxfordshire is a huge engineering undertaking but the roll-out is progressing extremely well, with more than 620 kilometres of fibre optic cable already laid by Openreach engineers.

“The rapid take-up of high-speed fibre broadband in the short time it’s been available in Sutton Courtenay is very encouraging.

“Our teams are working incredibly hard to ensure as many communities have access to the new technology as quickly as possible, because everything you do online is better and faster with fibre optic broadband.”

About Better Broadband for Oxfordshire:
Better Broadband for Oxfordshire is a partnership between Oxfordshire County Council, BT and BDUK. The £25 million programme is made up of £10m from Oxfordshire County Council, £4m from the Government (Broadband Delivery UK) and £11m from BT. It builds on the existing commercial footprint in the county with the aim that at least 90 per cent of all premises will have access to superfast broadband speeds of 24 Mbps and above by the end of 2015.
The Better Broadband for Oxfordshire programme will make superfast broadband available to 64,500 homes and businesses across the county by the end of 2015.
For further details to go www.betterbroadbandoxfordshire.org.uk

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:
• £790m to extend superfast broadband to 95% of the UK by 2017;
• £150m to provide high speed broadband to businesses in 22 cities; and
• £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