New £5.58 million deal extends superfast broadband to thousands more Oxfordshire businesses and homes

It will extend the ambitious Better Broadband for Oxfordshire roll-out - led by Oxfordshire County Council and BT - which started just over 18 months ago.

This latest 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.

Digital Economy Minister, Ed Vaizey, said: “This is fantastic news for Oxfordshire, where our roll-out of superfast broadband is already progressing at a tremendous rate. This additional £5.58 million funding will now deliver all the benefits that superfast speeds have to offer to thousands more homes and businesses in the county.”

The percentage of county homes and businesses able to get superfast fibre broadband will be increased to more than 95 per cent, when combined with earlier phases of the Better Broadband for Oxfordshire programme and BT’s commercial roll-out.

Work on this new phase will get underway immediately. After planning and surveying has been carried out, engineers from Openreach – BT’s local network business – will start laying fibre optic cable and installing new road-side fibre broadband cabinets next year.

Information on how communities in Oxfordshire can benefit from the new funding is available on the Better Broadband for Oxfordshire website: www.betterbroadbandoxfordshire.org.uk. Through the website’s ‘postcode checker,’ local people can follow the roll-out and get the latest on superfast broadband availability in their area as well as useful information on the latest fibre optic broadband products and services.

Residents and businesses choosing to upgrade will be able to get download speeds of up to 80 megabits per second (80Mbps) and upload speeds of up to 20Mbps*. Because the Openreach network is ‘open,’ local people can choose from a wide range of fibre broadband providers, with more than 140 currently operating in the UK.

Councillor Nick Carter, cabinet member for business and customer services at Oxfordshire County Council, said: “We’re proud to announce that we’re on track to achieve our original goal, set for us back in 2013, of making superfast broadband available to 64,500 homes and businesses across Oxfordshire by the end of 2015, and this has been achieved within our original budget, also agreed in 2013.

“But, we’re not stopping there. This additional funding provided by the Government, district and city councils, local enterprise zones and BT is allowing us to bring superfast broadband to even more homes and businesses across Oxfordshire. Our combined investments - over the lifetime of the Better Broadband for Oxfordshire programme - will mean that by the end of 2017, more than 95 per cent of county premises will have access to superfast broadband services.”

Nigel Tipple, chief executive of OxLEP, said: “We’re delighted to be supporting investment in broadband, enabling quality services for our enterprise zone and the county’s business parks. OxLEP’s contribution will benefit an additional 77 postcodes and 650 premises in our area which means improved connectivity for a significant number of businesses across Oxfordshire.”

Bill Murphy, BT’s managing director for next generation access, said: “Better Broadband for Oxfordshire is a huge engineering programme and the roll-out is going extremely well. As we connect more premises, we’re hearing how people are using the technology in new and exciting ways, whether it’s homeworkers or small businesses sharing large amounts of information with their customers and suppliers, or families needing to connect to the internet with different devices at the same time – everything is easier, quicker and better with fibre broadband.”

Note to Editors

Better Broadband for Oxfordshire is a partnership between Oxfordshire County Council, BT and BDUK. Totalling £25 million the first phase of the programme is made up of £10m from Oxfordshire County Council, £4m from the Government (Broadband Delivery UK) and £11m from BT. It builds on the existing commercial footprint in the county with the aim that at least 90 per cent of all premises will have access to superfast broadband speeds of 24 Mbps and above by the end of 2015.

In February 2015 Better Broadband for Oxfordshire announced £5.1 million of additional funding for a further phase of the programme made up as follows: £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). This is enabling the programme to roll out fibre broadband to an additional 6,500 properties beginning in 2016.

Today’s announcement builds on these earlier phases. For further details to go: www.betterbroadbandoxfordshire.org.uk

* These are the top wholesale speeds available from Openreach to all service providers; speeds offered by service providers may vary.