Banbury

Reference Library – England – Oxfordshire – Banbury

West Oxfordshire is back on the ultrafast broadband pathway

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[1] 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[2]. 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.

The area has been here before over three years ago in 2014[3] and this maybe illustrates that just drive and ambition is not always enough in the broadband roll-out arena.

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.

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References

  1. ^ signed a contract (www.westoxon.gov.uk)
  2. ^ Gigaclear (www.gigaclear.com)
  3. ^ over three years ago in 2014 (www.thinkbroadband.com)
  4. ^ Login (www.thinkbroadband.com)
  5. ^ Register (www.thinkbroadband.com)

Savings and gainshare to add another 3,000 superfast premises in Oxfordshire

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[1] 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[2] 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.

thinkbroadband analysis of Superfast Broadband Coverage across Oxfordshire as of 25th June 2017
Area

% fibre based

% superfast
Over 24 Mbps
(change since August 2013)

% superfast
30 Mbps or faster

% Ultrafast

% Openreach FTTP

% Under 2 Mbps
USC

% Under 10 Mbps
USO

285,528 Premises

93,693 Premises

63,291 Premises

60,028 Premises

59,834 Premises

55,087 Premises

47,288 Premises

Oxfordshire 97.9% 94.6% 93.7% 49.1% 3,997 (*) 0.6% 2.5%
279,531 270,109 267,539 140,194 9,674 1,713 7,138
BT/BDUK Better Broadband for Oxfordshire Contract Delivery 99.4% 92.2% 90.3% 26.45% (**) 1.16% 1.1% 3.7%
93,130 86,384 84,604 24,781 1087 1,030 3,466
Cherwell District 97.2% 94.7% 94.1% 30.4% 2.85% 0.6% 2.6%
61,518 59,936 59,556 19,240 1,803 380 1,645
Oxford City 98.9% 98.8% 98.7% 86% 0% 0% 0.4%
59,367 59,308 59,247 51,624 0 9 240
South Oxfordshire District 98.9% 92.4% 90.5% 30% 1.98% 0.8% 3.3%
59,175 55,287 54,149 17,950 1,184 479 1,974
Vale of White Horse District 98.6% 95.5% 95.1% 61.2% 1.55% 0.5% 2.1%
54,315 52,608 52,388 33,713 853 275 1,156
West Oxfordshire District 95.5% 91% 89.5% 37.3% 0.32% 1% 4.4%
45,160 43,032 42,322 17,638 151 473 2,081

(*) 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.

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References

  1. ^ latest area to announce (news.oxfordshire.gov.uk)
  2. ^ co-funding projects (www.betterbroadbandoxfordshire.org.uk)
  3. ^ Login (www.thinkbroadband.com)
  4. ^ Register (www.thinkbroadband.com)

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.

References

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