Better Broadband for Oxfordshire is a partnership between Oxfordshire County Council, BT and BDUK (Department for Digital, Media, Culture and Sport). The aim of the programme is to install fibre broadband infrastructure in areas of market failure, enabling some 80,000 homes and businesses to access superfast broadband where this would never have been otherwise possible. This is a significant enabler for growth in the Oxfordshire economy whilst enabling thousands of people to access digital services, including those online services provided by the public sector.
The original project was due to complete by December 2015 and would target 64,500 premises. This 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. This phase completed on time, on target and under budget.
The second phase of the programme runs until December 2017 and will enable a further 11,111 premises in the county access to superfast broadband. The total funding for this phase of the programme was an additional £5.1 million. 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.
The third phase, of the programme is due to run until December 2018 and is entirely funded by programme savings to date and the early contractual windfall paid by BT of £2.56m which has arisen due to the high levels of take-up (currently at above 45%) of services already delivered. This has formed two new funds totalling £4m to go towards getting superfast broadband to another 3,000 households and business premises. In addition to this, a £600,000 fund for co-funding projects in conjunction with local communities has been established to run until December 2018.
The programme is run by Craig Bower (Programme Director), Deirdre Considine (Programme Manager), Claire Hutchins-Lee (Data Support Analyst) and Tamar Bowley (Communications & Events Coordinator) with Susan Halliwell (Director for Planning & Place) as the Executive Sponsor and Councillor David Bartholomew as the Cabinet Member for Finance & Communication.
In summary, the Better Broadband for Oxfordshire programme will deliver superfast broadband to 78,000 premises in Oxfordshire by December 2018.
For further details go to: 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 West Oxon District Council, which is separate from the Better Broadband for Oxfordshire Programme.