Reference Library – England – Oxfordshire Broadband

Remote households get faster broadband

Almost 3,000 remote households and businesses will get access to high-speed broadband thanks to a ?4m boost for Oxfordshire. The funding has come from cost savings made earlier in the roll-out of the Better Broadband for Oxfordshire1 programme and BT making ?2.56m available for reinvestment. Partners say a ‘Gainshare’ mechanism in the contract has been triggered by strong demand for the new fibre technology from local households and businesses.

More than 45% of Oxfordshire households and businesses are already opting to use the new high speed service provided by the Better Broadband programme. This has helped to trigger further reinvestment through Oxfordshire County Council’s partnership with BT, says the local authority. The council also emphasised its commitment to work with communities not yet able to get superfast fibre broadband through any public or private sector roll-out by launching a new scheme.

A separate fund of up to ?600,000 from programme efficiency savings has been set aside for co-funding projects where communities are willing to share the cost of installation work. Under the scheme, the council will contribute up to ?1,700 per premises. Councillor David Bartholomew, whose portfolio includes responsibility for broadband, said it was “great news” for people in some of the county’s harder to reach areas.

He added: “We are continuing to look for cost-effective ways to reach the final four per cent of county premises not yet able to access this important service.

“We hope our co-funding initiative will play an important part in helping Oxfordshire to have the best access to digital services, even in the very rural areas.

“We’ve already had interest from several small eligible communities and are keen to hear from any other communities that might be interested.”

The ?38m Better Broadband for Oxfordshire roll-out is part of the government’s Broadband Delivery UK programme, with extra funding from Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership.


  1. ^ Better Broadband for Oxfordshire (www.betterbroadbandoxfordshire.org.uk)

DUP has formed a coalition with the Conservatives.

Here’s where it stands on major policies

hung parliament1 has led to Theresa May proposing a coalition government with the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP).


The Tories want to join forces with Northern Ireland’s DUP to cross the 326 seat line needed to hold a majority in Parliament. In the election, the DUP won 10 seats, while the Conservatives took 318.

Subscribe to WIRED2

The DUP launched its manifesto on May 313, with leader Arlene Foster setting out the party’s policies. We’ve now added the DUP policies to our manifesto round up below. See where the Democratic Unionist Party stand on WIRED issues and compare them to the policies proposed by the Conservatives, Lib Dems, Labour and the Greens.

DUP manifesto

The DUP’s manifesto for the Westminster election is one of the smaller publications, with 22 pages containing what the party believes in. Unsurprisingly, the party has a large push on the rights of Northern Ireland in the UK political system but in the country it has been responsible for blocking gay marriage4 and supports laws that block abortion5. Here are the party’s other views:


Licence fee: The DUP party calls the BBC licence fee a “highly regressive tax” and is in favour of removing it (page 9).


Education: DUP promises: “A digital skills revolution in our schools, colleges and universities
to enable young people to become digital citizens, digital workers
and digital makers, ready for the modern economy” (page 13). Broadband and mobile signal: A “comprehensive” broadband plan will be introduced to increase the number of people that have access to high-speed web connections. The manifesto also says it will push telecoms companies to increase 4G signals for smartphones and also invest in 5G technology (page 13). Crime: “An increased focus on cybercrime” (page 15). It adds it will help to increase the cybersecurity research happening in the country (page 17).


Innovation: The DUP says a Northern Ireland Industrial Strategy should help accelerate innovation and research. It highlights the country’s strengths in cybersecurity and advanced engineering (page 10). Government: It says a “more digital government” will be created in Northern Ireland (page 14).

Conservative Party Manifesto

manifesto here6. This is what’s included:


Digital charter: A new digital charter will be created to focus on business development and making the UK a safe place to be online. There will be “at least one” new institute of technology (page 77). A regulatory framework will be created to ensure the internet is regulated (page 82). There will also be discussions to create “an international legal framework” about how the internet should be regulated (83).

New products: There will be more spent on research and development. This is to help develop batteries and electric vehicles. This funding will keep the 2.4 per cent GDP as set out by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and aims to raise this amount to three per cent in 10 years. (page 19). Transport: “Almost every car and van” will be zero-emission by 2050 and there will be ?600 million to make this possible. The Conservatives say they will invest in more low-emission buses as part of this pledge (page 24).

Cybercrime: There will be a new infrastructure police force created consisting of existing transport police and nuclear staff to “bolster the response to cyber threats” (page 44). Person tracking:”We will implement satellite tracking for every foreign national offender subject to an outstanding deportation order or deportation proceedings” (page 44). Broadband and mobile coverage: Switching between services will be easier and simpler and, by 2020, every home and business will have high-speed broadband.

5G technology will roll out by 2022 and there will be 95 per cent geographic coverage of the UK (page 78).

Safety online: Protections to stop children viewing porn, violence and other extreme content online will be put in place. Tech companies will have to enable the reporting and removing of inappropriate content. The manifesto says: “We will continue to push the internet companies to deliver on their commitments to develop technical tools to identify and remove terrorist propaganda, to help smaller companies build their capabilities and to provide support for civil society organisations to promote alternative and counter-narratives” (page 79). Social media: New rights will allow people to delete information held about them from social media platforms when they turn 18. There will be a Data Use and Ethics Commission created (page 79). A new law will allow the government to “introduce an industry-wide levy” of social media and tech companies so they pay to “counter internet harms” (page 82).


Gig economy: Jobs, the manifesto says, are becoming increasingly flexible. The Conservatives say they will act to make sure those working in the gig economy are “properly protected” (page 16). Digital receipts: “We will oblige all digital companies to provide digital receipts, clearer terms and conditions when selling goods and services online and support new digital proofs
of identification,” the manifesto says (page 78). Infrastructure: There will be “?740 million of digital infrastructure investment” (page 20).

An ultra-deep water port will be created to help the shipping industry (page 22). Universities: More investment funds will be created for universities (page 20). There will be new institutes of technology in every major city in England that will provide STEM training and technical skills (page 52). Data: More open data will be released and created. The government’s Verify online identification system will be rolled-out (page 81).

The HM Land Registry, Ordnance Survey, the Valuation Office Agency, the Hydrographic Office and Geological Survey will be combined to create a giant “geospatial data body within government” (page 82).


Fracking: The party says it will develop the UK’s shale gas industry, create legislation for plans to extract the gas, and make a Shale Environmental Regulator. “Non-fracking drilling will be treated as permitted development,” the manifesto says (page 23). Forward planning: There will be a 25-Year Environment Plan created that future governments can use (page 26). Emissions will be reduced by 80 per cent (compared to 1990 levels) by 2050 (page 40).

Lib Dem manifesto

can be found here7. Here’s what is included:


Digital Bill of Rights: A new law will be introduced to “protect people’s powers” over their data and preserve net neutrality (page 73).

Surveillance and cyberwar: The party says it will “roll back state surveillance powers” and stop bulk collection of communications data, hacking and internet records. It also says it will let innocent people know when they have been placed under surveillance if it doesn’t impact an investigation (page 77). Investing in intelligence service’s abilities to “counter cyberattacks” (page 85). Encryption: “Oppose Conservative attempts to undermine encryption” (page 77). Broadband: The party says it will start a programme of installing “hyperfast, fibre-optic” broadband across the country (page 36).

This includes 2Gbps broadband, fibre connections, and higher speed connections for businesses (page 42). It also goes further by saying that all properties in the UK will have 30Mbps download speed by 2022 and an upload speed of 6Mbps, with an unlimited usage cap (page 64). Coding: Will be kept on the national curriculum for children (page 42). New technologies: There will be “supported investment” for energy storage, smart grid technology, hydrogen technologies, offshore wind, and tidal power (page 50).

Mobile signal: “Work with Ofcom to ensure mobile phone companies provide fast and
reliable coverage in rural areas” (page 64)


Startups: A ‘startup allowance’ will be created to aid those starting companies. Scale-ups will be provided with mentors and assistance will be provided from the British Business Bank (page 41). Innovation centres: New centres for innovation will be created around the country. The Lib Dems says it will “build on the success of Tech City, Tech North and the Cambridge tech cluster with a network across the UK acting as incubators for technology companies”. It will also invest in the space industry and provide funding for the Creative Industries Council (page 42).

Gig economy: The party says it will “modernise employment rights” to make them work for those working in gig jobs.


Transport: Ultra-low-emission zones will be introduced in 10 cities and towns, diesel cars and small vans will be banned from sale by 2025. Transport taxes will be changed to ensure electric vehicles are cheaper (page 49). The party will also “encourage the swift take-up” of driverless cars (page 64). Energy: Farron’s party will introduce a new law to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80 per cent in 2040 and promises the net greenhouse gas emissions to be zero per cent 10 years later (page 49).

Fracking: It will oppose fracking (page 50).


Funding and research: The Lib Dems’ manifesto is against leaving the European Union and one of the areas it says it will fight for is the academic grants that come from the EU. This includes protecting the science budget and raising it alongside inflation (page 42). The party also says it will “fight” against medical research cuts and promote “further development of open access academic journals” (page 19).

Labour Manifesto

available in full here8. Here are the key points, including the page numbers they’re on:


Online abuse: Tech companies will be “obliged” to protect children online and tackle abuse. Things people have shared online before they were 18 should be easy to remove, the party says (page 96). Broadband: Labour has pledged to deliver “universal superfast broadband” by 2022.

It says will improve 4G coverage across the country and create “uninterrupted” 5G coverage. “On day one we will instruct the National Infrastructure Commission to report on how to roll out ‘ultrafast’ (300Mbps) across the UK within the next decade” (page 10). Surveillance and cybersecurity: “Investigatory powers must always be both proportionate and necessary,” Labour says. If it wins the general election, it will “reintroduce effective judicial oversight” of surveillance powers (page 77). A cybersecurity charter will be introduced for companies working with the Ministry of Defence (page 120). Libraries: Will be “updated with Wi-Fi and computers” (page 88).


Fracking: A ban on the controversial fracking process is proposed. Instead, renewable energy – including tidal lagoons – will be favoured (page 21). Air quality: Labour says it will create a CleanAir Act to deal with air pollution (page 93).


Funding: A ‘science innovation fund’ will be created to protect the environment (page 94).


Gig economy: As part of a Ministry of Labour, there will be a commission to look at how the law “struggles to keep up with the ever-changing” forms of employment. This could revolve around Uber, Deliveroo and other companies. Trade union suggestions could also provide changes to how the companies work (page 51). Regulations around taxi legislation will also be reformed – this, it is said, will allow for regulations to change and “ensure a level playing field between operators” (page 92).

‘Transport arc’: the Science Vale transport arc running through South Oxfordshire will be built to connect Oxford, Cambridge, and Milton Keynes (page 91). Creatives: There’s a “value gap” between people who make creative content, the manifesto says, and the digital services that profit from it. “We will work with all sides to review the way that innovators and artists are rewarded for their work in the digital age”(page 96).

Ticket touts: The party will introduce an “anti-bot legislation” to stop touts bulk buying tickets (page 99). Startups: A new ‘Digital Ambassador’ will be appointed to work with technology companies to attract startups and scaleups to the UK (page 15).

Green Party manifesto

read in full here9.


Universal basic income: The party has suggested introducing a universal basic income, whereby everyone would get paid a basic wage that’s equal (page 5). Startups: Provide “community credit” and green investment for those looking to create their own companies (page 5).


Fines: Car companies who “cheated the emissions testing regime” will be hit by a “one-off” fine for doing so (page 7).


Protection: The Green Party says it will create an “Environmental Protection Act” to protect the environment and enhance biodiversity. A Clean Air Act will be created to expand the UK’s clean air zone (page 7). Fracking: Will be replaced as will coal power stations and subsidies to fossil fuel creation. These will be replaced by more investment in renewable energy (page 7).

Climate change: “Strengthen the global deal on climate change, including by delivering climate justice and promoting ecologically sustainable development so that poorer countries can cope with the impacts of climate change” (page 19).


  1. ^ hung parliament (www.wired.co.uk)
  2. ^ Subscribe to WIRED (www.wired.co.uk)
  3. ^ May 31 (www.bbc.co.uk)
  4. ^ blocking gay marriage (www.pinknews.co.uk)
  5. ^ laws that block abortion (www.theguardian.com)
  6. ^ manifesto here (s3.eu-west-2.amazonaws.com)
  7. ^ can be found here (d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net)
  8. ^ available in full here (www.labour.org.uk)
  9. ^ read in full here (www.greenparty.org.uk)

Abingdon internet giant Gigaclear bags £111m investment to roll out rural broadband

Abingdon Internet Giant Gigaclear Bags £111m Investment To Roll Out Rural Broadband

Matthew Hare, chief executive of Abingdon-based internet infrastructure firm Gigaclear

ABINGDON-based internet infrastructure firm Gigaclear has won ?111m investment to build broadband networks across rural Britain – but not Oxfordshire. The company said the cash injection would create ‘many new jobs’ at its Abingdon headquarters. Gigaclear recently won several tenders to deliver broadband networks to hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses across Devon, Somerset, Gloucestershire, Herefordshire and Northamptonshire through the Government-backed Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) programme.

The new investment will fund the first stage of these new networks, along with other commercial network build projects. Existing shareholders Infracapital and Woodford Investment Management have committed ?60m and ?15m respectively with other shareholders contributing a further ?1m. Railways Pension Scheme RPMI RailPen is a new investor, putting ?35m into the company.

Gigaclear chief executive Matthew Hare commented: “This latest round of investment will enable Gigaclear to step up our speed of network delivery and is a clear signal of the confidence investors have in our continued expansion and success.

“Millions of rural homes and businesses across the country need better broadband and we want to reach as many of those in rural areas as quickly as possible.

“Our pure fibre network transforms lives by providing access to the fastest internet speeds to be found anywhere in the world and technologically future-proofing these rural communities for years to come.”