Originally known as 'Better Broadband for Oxfordshire,' the programme has now expanded to include several aspects of Digital Infrastructure, with ‘Better Broadband’ now one of several strands under the ‘Digital Infrastructure Programme:’
- BBfO – Better Broadband for Oxfordshire Programme (contract with BT signed in 2013 to extend superfast broadband coverage to 95% of Oxfordshire)
- BiRO – Businesses in Rural Oxfordshire (new Defra funded contracts with BT and Airband delivering ultrafast broadband to rural Oxfordshire)
- LFFN – Local Full Fibre Networks (includes the Rural Gigabit Connectivity Programme, DCMS Outside in programme and the Rural Gigabit Voucher Scheme)
- Mobile coverage including the rollout of 5G
The Digital Infrastructure Programme is run by Craig Bower (Programme Director), Mark Hopping (Programme Manager), Claire Hutchins-Lee (Project Manager – Data Specialist), Anna Miles (Project Manager) and Tamar Bowley (Senior Marketing & Comms. Lead) with Susan Halliwell (Director for Planning & Place) as the Executive Sponsor and Councillor Ian Corkin, Cabinet Member for Council Business & Partnerships.
The Better Broadband programme is now in the final stage of Phase 3 delivery, which is due to be completed in summer 2020. The Better Broadband for Oxfordshire programme, is a partnership between Oxfordshire County Council, BT and BDUK (Department for Digital, Media, Culture and Sport). It has brought superfast broadband to over 97% of homes and businesses, with 78,846 premises connected; 648kms of fibre laid; 705 fibre cabinets stood (and continuing!). More than 70% of premises connected under the programme have upgraded to a superfast broadband service, which is one of the highest sign-up rates in the country.
The Better Broadband for Oxfordshire programme has now completed its planned work in West Oxfordshire. Further roll-out is being carried out by West Oxon District Council, which is separate from the Better Broadband for Oxfordshire Programme.
However, as the Better Broadband contract is coming to an end, the team is excited to be commencing the new strand of delivery for ‘Businesses in Rural Oxfordshire’ (BiRO), which is a £6.3m contract following our successful funding application to Defra. Businesses in Rural Oxfordshire is a programme of work to deliver full fibre broadband services to rural business premises in Oxfordshire. This funding is aimed at ensuring full fibre broadband is available to as many rural businesses as possible in Oxfordshire and is specifically targeting an improvement in business productivity. The programme will cover >950 businesses and is being delivered by BT in West Oxfordshire and Cherwell and also by Airband in South Oxfordshire and the Vale of White Horse. The rollout is underway and will run until March 2021.