Victoria Prentis MP joins villagers to celebrate the roll-out of faster fibre broadband in Steeple Aston

Steeple Aston is the first community to benefit from the second phase of the Better Broadband for Oxfordshire roll-out. A local businessman and other villagers welcome it as a huge boost for the area.

The pace of life in one north Oxfordshire village is set to speed up following a major fibre broadband boost.

Steeple Aston residents, businesses, children and community groups were today (Friday) joined by Victoria Prentis MP to celebrate even more of the village getting better access to the information superhighway.

The historic village is the first community in Cherwell district to benefit from the second phase of the multi-million pound Better Broadband for Oxfordshire programme.

The roll-out, which is part of the Government’s Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) programme, is led by Oxfordshire County Council and BT, supported by Cherwell District Council, South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership (SEM LEP) and OxLEP (Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership).

Eighty-five premises in Steeple Aston have benefitted from the recent upgrade work. This means more than 500 homes and businesses in the village are now able to access high-speed fibre broadband as a result of the Better Broadband for Oxfordshire programme.

The news was welcomed by Victoria Prentis MP during a visit to see first-hand how the roll-out was progressing.

Victoria Prentis MP said: “I know how important a good internet connection can be to homes and businesses. It is great that more of my constituents are getting access to high speed broadband which is increasingly used by people of all ages. It is clear that there is still more work to be done as there are still many properties and businesses without access to this important infrastructure.

“Better Broadband for Oxfordshire has done great work so far, and I look forward to welcoming more progress in the future. I have no doubt that the residents of Steeple Aston will love using this new service.”

The arrival of faster fibre broadband has been welcomed by Graham Porcas,who has been running his two businesses – Proma Machinery Ltd and Plasmatreat Ltd – from his home office in Steeple Aston for more than 10 years.

He said: “Good broadband access has been vital to enable me to do this successfully and, with the increasing use of internet-based services requiring more reliable connection and higher speeds, I am very pleased to now be connected to fibre.”

Councillor Michael Waine, Chairman of Oxfordshire County Council, said: “I’m delighted to see another Oxfordshire community able to connect to faster broadband speeds as our roll-out continues at pace with our Better Broadband for Oxfordshire programme. This is about improving opportunities for learning, leisure, employment and access to services for people in Oxfordshire.”

Stacey King, BT’s regional manager for Oxfordshire and the South East said: “The roll-out of fibre broadband across Oxfordshire is progressing well and reaching increasingly more remote parts of the county. When combined with BT’s own investment, the total number of premises in Oxfordshire able to access fibre broadband is more than 274,000.

“Every day we’re hearing how the technology is changing people’s lives for the better. Whether it’s giving people the flexibility to work from home or families wanting to connect several devices to the internet at the same time for online shopping, homework, hobbies, streaming videos and music - everything is easier, better and faster with fibre broadband.”

Residents and businesses can follow the progress of the roll-out via the project website: http://www.betterbroadbandoxfordshire.org.uk

People opting for an upgrade will be able to access broadband download speeds of up to 80 megabits per second (Mbps) and uploads of up to 20Mbps*.

Because the network is being rolled out by Openreach – BT’s local network business – people have a wide choice of fibre broadband provider.

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 was announced in February 2015 and 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.


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.uk

Twitter: @OxfordshireCC

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

Twitter: @EmmaTennantBT

All BT news releases are available at: http://www.btplc.com/News

Jemma Callow at Cherwell District Council press office on 01295 227942 or email: communications.team@cherwell-dc.gov.uk

Twitter: @cherwellcouncil

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: Global Services, Business and Public Sector, Consumer, EE, Wholesale and Ventures, and Openreach.

    For the year ended 31 March 2016, BT Group’s reported revenue was £19,042m with reported profit before taxation of £3,029m.

    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.

    For more information, visit www.btplc.com