Super-fast fibre broadband ‘goes live’ in historic Oxfordshire village

Nearly 250 Islip homes and businesses can order high-speed fibre broadband after ground-breaking deal between local community and BT 

Residents in the historic Oxfordshire village of Islip today celebrated the success of a ground-breaking deal which has brought high-speed fibre broadband to their community. 

Nearly 250 Islip homes and businesses now have access to the technology thanks to an agreement between the local community and BT, which saw local residents raise just over £11,000 to contribute towards the cost of laying a new fibre network to the village. This means that the majority of local households and businesses in Islip can start enjoying broadband speeds in excess of 30Mbps. 

Islip recently hosted an event in the village which gave the local community the chance to see how fibre broadband will bring major benefits for residents, businesses and the village hall. A specially designed BT showcase vehicle visited Islip, which helped demonstrate how the high-tech fibre optic technology is installed at the telephone exchange and in the local network. 

Alison Mitchell, Chair of Islip Parish Council, said: “We are delighted that the village will be able to move from the slow lane into the super-fast lane, in terms of broadband speeds. High-speed broadband is of critical importance for many residents, and especially people who run businesses in, or work regularly from, the village. We spoke to BT about how we could boost their business case to bring fibre to the cabinet serving the village. They worked out what the extra cost would be, and we have raised the funds ourselves to make up the gap in the economics. The arrival of fibre broadband in the village will make a massive difference to many of our lives.” 

Bill Murphy, BT’s managing director for Next Generation Access, said: “This is a great example of a village taking the initiative. The residents of Islip took such an active approach and now they can place orders for high-speed fibre broadband. Openreach’s fibre network is openly available to all companies offering broadband services, so residents will be able to choose their internet service provider, and a pricing package which suits them – that’s a great result for the village, and they made it happen for themselves. We would encourage other communities to talk to us about their options; we want to provide fibre speeds to as many people as possible and in many cases local residents can make a real difference in bringing fibre to their area.” 

Islip had not been included in BT’s £2.5 billion commercial fibre broadband roll-out plans because the economics of delivering fibre to this small community were too challenging. However, the proximity of Islip to the local telephone exchange at Kidlington – which BT has already upgraded to fibre – and the additional cash raised by the villagers has helped BT to build a case for bringing fibre to the locality. 

BT’s local network business Openreach is making fibre broadband available to around two-thirds of UK homes and businesses on a commercial basis by the end of Spring 2014 1 using a mix of fibre to the cabinet (FTTC) and fibre to the premises (FTTP) technologies. More than 15 million premises can already access fibre broadband and that number is growing all the time. In Oxfordshire, more than 175,000 homes already have access to Openreach’s fibre network, across 19 exchange areas including Abingdon, Cowley, Banbury and Witney. 

Both technologies offer speeds many times faster than the current UK average, reported by the regulator Ofcom to be 9Mbps. FTTC, where fibre is delivered to new street cabinets, offers download speeds of up to 80Mbps and upload speeds of up to 20 Mbps 2. 

FTTP, where fibre runs all the way to homes and businesses, offers a variety of download speeds with the current top speed being 330 Mbps 2. BT aims to make speeds of 330Mbps 2 commercially available in any areas where fibre broadband has been deployed 3. 

Internet users with a fibre broadband connection can do much more online, all at the same time. A family can download a movie, watch a TV replay service, surf the net and play games online simultaneously. A whole album can be downloaded in less than 30 seconds and a feature length HD movie in less than 10 minutes, whilst high-resolution photos can be uploaded to Facebook in seconds. 

The upload speeds are some of the fastest widely available to consumers in the UK, with large video and data files being sent almost instantly and hi-resolution photos posted online in seconds. And high quality voice and video calls mean businesses can keep in touch with customers while they cut down on travel. 

Notes to editors 
1 Research taken from Social Study 2012 – The Economic Impact of BT across the UK by Regeneris Consulting – see www.btsocialstudy.co.uk for more information. 
2 BT’s deployment plans are subject to an acceptable environment for investment. 
3 These are the top wholesale speeds available from Openreach to all service providers; speeds offered by service providers may vary. 
4 Openreach will levy an installation charge for FTTP on demand. It will be up to service providers to decide whether they pass that on to businesses or consumers wishing to use the product. 

Due to the current network topography, and the economics of deployment, it is likely that some premises within selected exchange areas will not initially be able to access fibre-based broadband. Openreach is considering alternative solutions for these locations.