What’s Good for the Goose is Good for the Gander!

Goosey Wick pioneers new co-funding scheme to expand high-speed broadband to more Oxfordshire communities

Goosey Wick villagers will be the first to harvest the benefits of a new £600,000 Oxfordshire faster broadband fund, led by Oxfordshire County Council and Openreach, as part of the Government’s Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) programme.

Eleven farms and households in tiny Goosey Wick, near Charney Bassett, will get ultrafast Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) broadband after becoming the first to sign up for the new Better Broadband for Oxfordshire co-funding initiative. FTTP is capable of download speeds of up to one Gigabit per second (Gbps) – about 1,000 times faster than the village’s current speeds.

The partnership allocated £600,000 in total from efficiency savings elsewhere in the Better Broadband for Oxfordshire roll-out to co-fund projects like the one in Goosey Wick.

Under the scheme, the county council will contribute up to £1,700 per premise*, with Openreach – the business responsible for Britain’s largest telephone and broadband network – carrying out the upgrade work. The co-funding programme aims to bring high-speed broadband to more of the county’s smallest, remote communities not yet earmarked for any public or private sector roll-outs, by sharing the infrastructure and installation costs, which would otherwise be too expensive.

Goosey Wick residents have kept the costs down even more by offering to use their own equipment to do some of the digging. The project at Goosey Wick is a major engineering challenge involving the installation of around 13 kilometres of fibre optic cabling by engineers from Openreach. The arrival of ultrafast broadband in around 12 months’ time will be a welcome boost for local farmers who are diversifying into new fields, including letting out cottages, and other residents wanting the option of working from home.

Local resident Philip Campbell, who co-ordinated the community’s application, said: “We’re so pleased Oxfordshire County Council highlighted the availability of the grant scheme and that Openreach are going to be doing the engineering work to connect us. I would certainly encourage other communities in a similar situation to look into the scheme.”

His wife, Jill, added: “The new fibre service will make such a difference to the lives of the people of all ages who live and work here, including younger members of the community who rely on the internet for so much of their studies and homework these days.”

Oxfordshire County Councillor David Bartholomew, Cabinet member for Finance (Broadband and Communications), said: “We’re on track for superfast broadband to reach 96 per cent of Oxfordshire premises by the end of 2018, but rolling out high-speed broadband to the final four per cent is challenging and needs new and innovative solutions.

“Our co-funding scheme is just one of the ways we’re working hard to enable more communities to access this vital technology, and contributing to our ambition to make Oxfordshire one of the best-served counties in the UK for digital infrastructure.

“We want to hear from any other communities who might be interested in taking part in our co-funding scheme.”

Steve Haines, Openreach’s managing director of next generation access, said: “We know how vital fast internet is to communities. Bringing new technology to tiny, remote communities like Goosey Wick can be challenging and expensive, which is why co-funding initiatives like this one are becoming increasingly popular.

“Whether it’s streaming TV in the home, doing homework online, or downloading large files in the office – superfast broadband makes doing anything online faster. With a choice of many broadband providers and the variety of services and prices they offer, the Openreach network provides real choice.”

Notes to Editors

More information about the Co-Funded Fibre Broadband Partnerships can be found on the Better Broadband for Oxfordshire website:http://www.betterbroadbandoxfordshire.org.uk/cms/content/co-funded-fibre-broadband-partnerships-cfp

*Subject to terms and conditions outlined on the Better Broadband for Oxfordshire website.

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

About Better Broadband for Oxfordshire

Better Broadband for Oxfordshire is a partnership between Oxfordshire County Council, BT 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. 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, 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. 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 Cotswold Broadband, 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 Openreach

    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, Talk Talk, Vodafone, Plusnet, EE 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 in the G20 as a proportion of GDP.

    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 an independently governed business within the BT Group. 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.

    About BT

    BT’s purpose is to use the power of communications to make a better world. It is one of the world’s leading providers of communications services and solutions, serving customers in 180 countries. Its principal activities include the provision of networked IT services globally; local, national and international telecommunications services to its customers for use at home, at work and on the move; broadband, TV and internet products and services; and converged fixed-mobile products and services. BT consists of six customer-facing lines of business: Consumer, EE, Business and Public Sector, Global Services, Wholesale and Ventures, and Openreach.

    For the year ended 31 March 2017, BT Group’s reported revenue was £24,062m with reported profit before taxation of £2,354m.

    British Telecommunications plc (BT) is a wholly-owned subsidiary of BT Group plc and encompasses virtually all businesses and assets of the BT Group. BT Group plc is listed on stock exchanges in London and New York.

    For more information, visit www.btplc.com