Announcement welcomed by Minister as ‘great news’
Faster broadband has arrived in Ewelme, Oxfordshire, with the ‘switching on’ of the first cabinet to be enabled by the Better Broadband for Oxfordshire initiative.
Ewelme homes and businesses are the first in the county to benefit from the £25 million Better Broadband for Oxfordshire programme, a partnership between Oxfordshire County Council and BT, that aims to ensure at least 90 per cent1 of all premises will have access to superfast broadband speeds of 24Mbps and above by the end of 2015.
The early broadband boost has been achieved by engineers identifying areas where BT’s existing fibre network can be extended quickly.
County Councillor Ian Hudspeth, Leader of Oxfordshire County Council, said: “This is an important step forward, and something I am really excited to be involved in. Broadband is now seen almost as a utility like water or electricity, yet there are areas where access is non-existent or far too slow. However, we are now seeing the first results of our work to bring better broadband to Oxfordshire with the switching on of this cabinet. High-speed access to the internet has never been more important whether you are a businessperson wishing to build your company, a student carrying out research or a householder accessing on-line shopping and entertainment. In today’s rapidly moving world, fast and sophisticated communications are absolutely vital. They are an essential part of future success.”
Ed Vaizey, Communications Minister, said: “The switching on of superfast broadband in Ewelme is great news for both local residents and businesses. Today’s announcement is just part of a transformation of broadband services happening throughout the UK. Broadband is an essential part of Oxfordshire’s present and future. It is vital that we embrace this latest generation of technology in order for our economy to remain competitive.”
Neil Blake, resident of Ewelme who has been championing broadband access in the village, said: "This has been a long journey. It started with a clear village plan in 2007 and has been doggedly pursued. We've been supported by a handful of great people in Openreach and Oxfordshire County Council with a real "can do" approach, and we’re delighted we can now give our RAF residents and our youngsters access to services they deserve and need.”
BT’s investment of £11 million in Oxfordshire bolsters the public sector investment, which includes £10m from Oxfordshire County Council and £4m Government funding from BDUK.
Bill Murphy, BT’s managing director of next generation access, added: “All over the country fibre broadband is changing people’s lives. It provides a digital gateway to a wealth of opportunities whether it is supporting how we work, how we learn, how we communicate with friends and family, or how we entertain ourselves.”
A list of possible internet service providers can be found at www.betterbroadbandoxfordshire.org.uk.
Openreach, BT’s local network business, is primarily deploying fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) technology, where the fibre runs from the exchange to a local roadside cabinet. In addition to download speeds of up to 80Mbps2, FTTC also delivers upload speeds of up to 20Mbps2 — and could deliver even faster speeds in the future.
Openreach has also started to make fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) technology, where the fibre runs all the way to the home or business, commercially available on demand3 in certain areas where fibre broadband has been deployed, and plans to expand access in due course. FTTP-on-demand offers the top current download speed of 330Mbps2.
Fibre broadband at home means everyone in the family can do their own thing online, all at the same time, whether it’s downloading music in minutes or watching catch-up TV; streaming HD or 3D movies in the few minutes it takes to make popcorn; or posting photos and videos to social networking sites in seconds. Fibre improves the quality of online experiences and supports exciting new developments in internet services.
The benefits are also considerable for businesses, which can do much more in far less time. Firms can speed up file and data transfers, collaborate with colleagues and customers on conference or video calls or swap their hardware and expensive software licenses for files, processing power and software from cloud computing. Staff can work as effectively from home as they would in the office.
Openreach will install the fibre network which will then be open to all communications providers on an equal wholesale basis. Households and businesses will therefore benefit from a highly competitive market, bringing greater choice and affordable prices.