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.

Ten full fibre facts:

Connecting everyone in the South East to ‘full fibre’ broadband by 2025 would create a £8.7 billion boost to the region’s economy.

Fibre optics are strands of glass around one tenth the thickness of a human hair. They transmit data using light signals.

A single strand of fibre can provide enough capacity to serve up to 32 individual properties with Gigabit speeds.

Pure fibre optic broadband can run at speeds of 1 gigabit per second (1000Mbps) – that’s 18 times faster than today’s UK average broadband speed. You can download a two-hour HD film in less time than it takes to make a cup of tea. And video gamers could download a 5-gigabyte virtual reality (VR) game in 1.7 minutes, instead of waiting half an hour.

Full fibre is more reliable than traditional copper connections. A full fibre broadband signal isn’t affected by external interference whereas copper can be impacted by outside electrical signals – including electric fences and even bad weather!

A fibre optic cable can send a signal over 120 miles without any real loss of quality. Traditional copper cables can lose signal at around one mile.

A family of four can all stream ultra HD or 4k quality video simultaneously, without waiting or buffering.

Full fibre is better for the environment – the amount of electricity used to power fibre is significantly less than needed for copper cables. Better connectivity also enables more people to work from home – which cuts down on commuting. Research suggests fibering up the whole of the UK could save 300 million commuting trips – reducing carbon emissions by 360,000 tonnes.

Full fibre can boost business productivity. It enables cheaper broadband powered phone services, and better access to cloud-based computing services. For example, full fibre connectivity combined with cloud computing means businesses can upload, store, access and download vast amounts of data in minutes instead of hours. Data is backed up and securely archived off-site so not relying on costly, ageing servers taking up expensive office space.

Full fibre broadband will be crucial in supporting plans to give NHS patients access to ‘virtual clinics’ where patients who don’t physically need to come hospital can get a video consultation with their doctor. It can also allow hospitals to share HD quality graphics of medical scans in seconds to improve diagnosis speeds. For example, medical staff can download a 2 gigabyte CT scan in 40 seconds, instead of 14 minutes.

(Source: Openreach)