Oxfordshire villagers join forces with county council and BT to reap the benefits of faster fibre broadband
Government Minister, Ed Vaizey, has paid tribute to Oxfordshire villagers who have joined forces with Oxfordshire County Council and BT to get high-speed fibre broadband.
Around 90 households and businesses in Pusey and Gainfield now have access to some of the fastest broadband speeds in the country thanks to the innovative partnership.
After finding out they were not included in any fibre broadband upgrades being carried out by the public or private sectors, some villagers came up with an alternative solution.
They shared the costs of installing the new road-side fibre broadband cabinets and fibre optic cabling with the BT and the county council.
The Digital Economy Minister, who is MP for Wantage and Didcot, said: “This is a brilliant example of local communities, BT and local authorities working together on an innovative approach to boosting broadband speeds in the area. By 2017, 95 per cent of the UK will have access to superfast speeds as a result of the Government’s ongoing roll-out, commercial investment and collaborative projects like the one here in Pusey and Gainfield.”
Pusey resident and businessman, Adrian Holmes, praised the way the residents had worked together to help co-fund the initiative.
He said: “I’m sure everybody in Pusey and Gainfield is welcoming the arrival of high-speed broadband with open arms, not least our teenage children, who can now finally stop pestering us for something quicker than two megabits per second. For my own business – a small advertising agency – it’s going to make a huge difference to be able to download files in a matter of minutes, rather than hours.”
Two new ‘all-in-one’ fibre broadband cabinets had to be installed as well as more than three kilometres of fibre optic cabling.
Bill Murphy, BT’s managing director of next generation access, said: “A community fibre partnership like this one is an excellent solution for villages like these which fall outside any private or public sector fibre broadband roll-out plans. BT’s strong ambition is to never say ‘no’ and rather to work together with local households to find a suitable and affordable option for communities in a similar situation. Indeed, we’re already working with around 100 UK communities where local people have got together and pooled their funds alongside BT’s substantial investment.”
Councillor Nick Carter, cabinet member for business and customer services at Oxfordshire County Council, said: “We are delighted to have been able to support the noteworthy efforts of the villagers in Pusey and Gainfield in working with BT to bring superfast broadband to these communities.”
Residents and 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,’ local people can choose from a wide range of fibre broadband providers, with more than 140 currently operating in the UK.
Elsewhere, the Better Broadband for Oxfordshire roll-out – led by Oxfordshire County Council and BT – is progressing well. Through the programme’s website www.betterbroadbandoxfordshire.org.uk and ‘postcode checker’, local people can follow the roll-out and get the latest on superfast broadband availability in their area as well as useful information on the latest fibre optic broadband products and services.
Any communities not currently part of any public or private sector roll-out who want to find out more about the co-funding solutions available, can log onto: www.openreach.co.uk/communityfibre
Note to Editors
* These are the top wholesale speeds available from Openreach to all service providers; speeds offered by service providers may vary.
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 to an additional 6,500 properties was announced in February 2015 with work to begin early 2016. 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 adding a further 4,600 premises to the programme. 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.
For further details to go: www.betterbroadbandoxfordshire.org.uk
Issued by Oxfordshire County Council and BT on behalf of the Better Broadband for Oxfordshire partnership.
For more information please contact Emily Reed at Oxfordshire County Council on 01865 815 742or email:firstname.lastname@example.org
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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
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 more than 170 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. Following the acquisition of EE on 29 January 2016, BT consists principally of six customer-facing lines of business: BT Global Services, BT Business, BT Consumer, EE, BT Wholesale and Openreach.
For the year ended 31 March 2015, BT Group’s reported revenue was £17,979m with reported profit before taxation of £2,645m.
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