Banbury announced in latest list of Openreach Fibre First Towns

Openreach CEO, Clive Selley has outlined plans for further build of full fibre broadband connectivity, confirming the inclusion of Banbury to its commercially-funded Fibre First programme.

The announcement of Banbury is part of a wider announcement which will bring ultrafast, ultra-reliable Full Fibre infrastructure to 3.2m homes and businesses in “harder to reach” areas across the UK.

Oxfordshire County Council’s Digital Infrastructure programme has been working with Openreach since 2013, with the partnership delivering access to superfast broadband for over 80,000 Oxfordshire residences and businesses to date under the Better Broadband for Oxfordshire contract, with increasing focus on delivering FTTP (Fibre to the Premise) infrastructure.

Whilst the programme predominantly focuses on supporting fibre broadband delivery with public funds in mainly rural locations, the programme which includes city and district council partners, also works hard to attract telecoms operators such as Openreach to invest in Oxfordshire.

The Openreach announcement follows significant commercial investment by smaller ‘Altnet’ operators such as Zzoom, Gigaclear, Airband, and Swish.

County Council Programme Director, Craig Bower, said:

“Our Better Broadband for Oxfordshire programme has delivered a step-change in broadband connectivity in the county. There are now over 100,000 people in Oxfordshire using superfast broadband which would not have been available without our programme. It has enabled businesses to transform online operations, whilst residents, students, and homeworkers are able to be productive and enjoy online services.

“It is critical however, to attract commercial investment in building full fibre infrastructure at scale and speed. We have an increasingly diverse array of operators in Oxfordshire with Gigaclear having delivered nearly 20,000 full fibre connections, Zzoom nearly 7,000, and Airband rolling out full fibre both under a contract with us as well as under commercial investment plans.

“Our partnership with Oxfordshire planning authorities and our own Highways team, is assisting telecoms operators to resolve wayleave problems, communications related planning applications and access to our highways, so we are delighted to have Openreach invest in Banbury and we look forward to more announcements of this nature.”

Councillor Ian Corkin, County Cabinet Member for Business and Partnerships, said:

“I very much welcome the announcement from Openreach that Banbury has been included in the next tranche of towns to benefit from Full Fibre to Premises roll out. This is world class digital infrastructure coming to this vibrant market town, providing residents and businesses alike with access to ultrafast, ultra-reliable and future-proof broadband. We’ve already seen the importance of superfast connectivity in our response to the COVID-19 pandemic and this next generation of technology will build on that, revolutionising how we live, work and play, as well as helping us meet our sustainability goals.

The County council recently announced its cabinet had approved its Digital Infrastructure Strategy, including a formal partnership with Oxford City Council, OxLEP, and all Oxfordshire district councils.