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Up to speed this Christmas: Oxfordshire hits 95 per cent superfast broadband coverage target ahead of national schedule

Press Release   •   Dec 12, 2017 17:22 GMT

Among those tasting benefits of fibre broadband is Lucy Collins of Mill View Garden Centre and Coffee Shop, Wheatley

Oxfordshire residents and businesses are looking forward to a fibre-filled Christmas, according to new figures announced today by the Better Broadband for Oxfordshire (BBfO) partnership.

More than 95 per cent of Oxfordshire premises are now able to get superfast broadband and take-up of the technology by local households and businesses is among the highest in the country*, with more than 50 per cent of those reached by the roll-out already opting for an upgrade.

So far BBfO has enabled more than 73,000 households and businesses to connect to superfast broadband speeds. The latest communities to benefit from the BBfO roll-out include: Cookley Green, Pyrton, Balscote, Baulking and Waterperry.

The major milestones were confirmed by Oxfordshire County Council and BT Group, who spearhead the BBfO partnership.

It is part of the Government’s Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) programme, which aims to make superfast broadband available to 95 per cent of the country by the end of the year.

Councillor David Bartholomew, Cabinet member for Finance of Oxfordshire County Council, said: “Reaching these important milestones in the run-up to Christmas and ahead of schedule is a terrific achievement and shows our commitment to make this important service available to as many parts of Oxfordshire as quickly as possible.

“We’re using a combination of technologies and co-funding solutions to ensure residents and businesses in even the smallest, most remote parts of our county have access to fast broadband.”

The upgrade work is being carried out by engineers from Openreach, the business responsible for Britain’s largest digital phone and broadband network.

Steve Haines, Openreach’s Managing Director of Next Generation Access, said: “The broadband landscape across Oxfordshire has been transformed in recent years so that the great majority of households and businesses can now get superfast speeds. And we are most certainly not stopping there. We’re committed to going further with superfast and ultrafast broadband.

“Increasingly high-speed broadband is no longer a ‘nice to have’ – it is a ‘must have’. Reaching this important milestone at this busy time of the year is particularly good news for people wanting to use the internet more than usual for online shopping and ‘click and collect’ services. At home, it enables families to connect to several different devices at the same time, so children can play online games without affecting parents or grandparents while they watch catch-up television or contact friends and relatives abroad.

“This exciting technology also breaks down barriers to doing business in the digital world, around Oxfordshire and across the globe. It helps small businesses to find new markets, sell new products and communicate more easily and quickly with their customers, suppliers and employees.”

People can follow the progress of the roll-out and get more information about the council’s community co-funding scheme via the website: www.betterbroadbandoxfordshire.org.uk

Because the fibre broadband network is being installed by Openreach, households and businesses have a wide choice of fibre broadband providers. Upgrades do not happen automatically. Anyone wanting to benefit needs to place an order with their chosen fibre broadband provider.

Notes to Editors

*Source: Thinkbroadband

The 95 per cent superfast broadband coverage figure has been achieved as a result of superfast broadband roll-outs by BBfO combined with private sector investment by network businesses such as Openreach.

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Issued by Oxfordshire County Council and BT on behalf of the Better Broadband for Oxfordshire partnership.

Press contacts:

For more information please contact Catarina Walsh at Oxfordshire County Council on 01865 323 870 or email: catarina.walsh@oxfordshire.gov.uk Twitter: @OxfordshireCC

Or

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

Twitter: @EmmaTennantBT All Openreach news releases are available at our web site.

About Better Broadband for Oxfordshire

Better Broadband for Oxfordshire is a partnership between Oxfordshire County Council, BT Group 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 Group. 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 construction work began last 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 Group, 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 Group. 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 Gigaclear, which is separate from Better Broadband for Oxfordshire.

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 us

Openreach is Britain’s digital network business. That means we connect homes, mobile phone masts, schools, shops, banks, hospitals, libraries, broadcasters, governments and businesses – large and small – to the world. It’s our mission to build the best possible network with the highest quality service, and make sure that everyone in Britain can be connected.

Our 30,400 people work on behalf of more than 580 communications providers like Sky, TalkTalk, Vodafone and BT. Our fibre broadband network is the biggest in the UK, covering more than 26.8 million premises. And our technology is the basis of Britain’s thriving digital economy, which is the largest of the G20 countries.

We’re working hard to give people the broadband speeds they need at work and at home. Over the last decade, we’ve invested more than £11bn into our network. And we now manage more than 158 million kilometres of cable stretching from Scotland to Cornwall, and from Wales to the east coast. But we’re not stopping there – we’re making superfast broadband speeds available to thousands more homes and businesses every week.

We’re owned by BT Group and independently governed. Our business is highly regulated, and more than 90 per cent of our revenue comes from services that are regulated by Ofcom. Any company can access our products under the same prices, terms and conditions.

In the year ending 31 March 2017, we reported revenues of £5.1bn.

To find out more about us and what we do, go to openreach.co.uk.