Residents and businesses in West Oxfordshire may be confused over whether they are every going to get better broadband than they have now, but the taps of hope have been turned again as the district council has signed a contract with Gigaclear to bring ultrafast broadband to some 4,600 premises across the district between November 2017 and December 2019. The funding is ?1.5m from the West Oxfordshire District Council with the usual match funding (?1.6m) from the BDUK pot and we presume a level of investment from Gigaclear. The 4,600 premises is said to be enough to take the district to well over 99% superfast broadband coverage and it that does seem possible, unless some pesky developer manages to build a few thousand new homes in the area and does so without ensuring superfast broadband coverage.
With the broadband Universal Service Obligation still very much in the debate stages and the fact that by 2019 those with sub 10 Mbps services will invariably be very small clusters or individual premises projects how the USO is delivered economically may need to differ across the UK based on the dominate supplier in an area.
Post a comment
There are those that say the BDUK process was a farce but it is very rare beast in terms of government (national and local) procurement where after a few years we can talk of ‘efficiency savings’ and money being recycled to go beyond the original contract goals. Oxfordshire County Council is the latest area to announce what it is doing with its gainshare windfall of ?2.56m which has arisen due to the levels of take-up (currently at above 45%) of the services already delivered, plus an additional ?2m of efficiency savings. This has formed two new funds ?4m to go towards getting superfast broadband to another 3,000 households and business premises, and a ?600,000 fund for co-funding projects in conjunction with local communites.
While today’s announcement is more great news for people living and working in some of the harder to reach parts of our county, 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. Councillor David Bartholomew, Oxfordshire County Council cabinet member
The 3,000 premises are expected to be rolled out to premises in Swalcliffe, Barford St John, Lyford, East Hendred, Ardington, Lockinge with delivery said to be ‘from the end of next year’, which we take to mean 2019.
|BT/BDUK Better Broadband for Oxfordshire Contract Delivery||99.4%||92.2%||90.3%||26.45% (**)||1.16%||1.1%||3.7%|
|South Oxfordshire District||98.9%||92.4%||90.5%||30%||1.98%||0.8%||3.3%|
|Vale of White Horse District||98.6%||95.5%||95.1%||61.2%||1.55%||0.5%||2.1%|
|West Oxfordshire District||95.5%||91%||89.5%||37.3%||0.32%||1%||4.4%|
(*) Some of the 3,997 Openreach native FTTP premises in the county overall may also have been delivered via the BDUK project, but the distinction is not always easy to decide, so when assessing the deliver of the project from our figures a small allowance needs to be made.
(**) This includes 18% overlap with Virgin Media cable areas, where cabinet delivery overlaps with a premises already able to get Virgin Media projects do not pay gap funding for that premise to BT. Therefore if assessing the total number of superfast premises you need to make an allowance for this. The project is described as delivering to more than 72,000 premises in the county, and our figures show that they have not plucked the figure from thin air, of course if you are in the county and have seen no improvements it may feel like nothing has happened and those still with speeds under the USC/USO targets in the project area may feel doubly annoyed as they may have thought an improvement was on the way.
For some in the sub 10 Mbps zone, it is possible the VDSL2 speeds are an improvement on older ADSL/ADSL2+ speeds, but not enough to be comfortable.
We get a result of 70,000 superfast premises delivered by the project, but our tracking of FTTP delivered either commercially or via the project has not been fully resolved in the county, therefore the difference is easily accounted for and our general pessimism on the range at which superfast speeds are available may also account for the difference.
Gigaclear also has a significant presence in the county and accounts 3.6% of the ultrafast coverage across the county and adds to the total superfast coverage totals when you look at the county wide figure.
Post a comment
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.