Building Digital UK (BDUK)

Building Digital UK (BDUK) – BDUK is an executive agency, sponsored by the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology. BDUK’s purpose is to bring fast and reliable broadband and mobile coverage to hard-to-reach places across the UK. Find out more about BDUK.

Better Broadband for Oxfordshire (BBFO)

Better Broadband for Oxfordshire (BBFO) – The Better Broadband for Oxfordshire programme, was a partnership between Oxfordshire County Council, BT and BDUK. The contract with BT was signed in 2013 and had 3 phases running until 2020. The programme has now successfully been completed with over 90,000 premises connected to superfast broadband. Find out more about BBFO.

Businesses in Rural Oxfordshire (BiRO)

Businesses in Rural Oxfordshire (BiRO) – The European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) funded contracts with BT and Airband delivered ultrafast broadband to rural businesses and nearby residences in Oxfordshire. These contracts started in October 2019 and completed in August 2022, with 777 businesses delivered and a further 818 residential properties also connected. Find out more about BiRO.

Digital Infrastructure

Digital Infrastructure refers to the underlying technology and systems that enable communication, data exchange, and online services. Think of it as the invisible highways that allow your devices to connect to the internet, access websites, and share information. 
These include things like fibre-optic cables, cell towers, and data centres. So, when you send a message or stream a video, digital infrastructure makes it all possible. It is critical because it connects what technology has to offer to meet business needs and resident services with existing IT resources efficiently.

Digital Infrastructure Programme (DIP)

Digital Infrastructure Programme (DIP) – Oxfordshire County Council’s Digital Infrastructure Programme aims to support the residents, businesses, and communities across Oxfordshire by facilitating digital infrastructure delivery and improving access to broadband, mobile, and public access to Wi-Fi services across the county. The DIP team works with commercial suppliers, local enterprise, and central government. 

Department for Science, Innovation and Technology (DSIT)

Department for Science, Innovation and Technology (DSIT) – The central government department responsible for delivering improvements to fixed and mobile communications infrastructure. DSIT funds our 5G Innovation Region project known as England’s Connected Heartland. Find out more about DSIT.

England’s Connected Heartland (ECH)

England’s Connected Heartland (ECH) – ECH is a current regional partnership delivering 5G Private Mobile Network connectivity to Harwell Science and Innovation Campus, as well as a section of new rail track between Bicester and Bletchley. Find out more about this project under the Projects dropdown.

State Aid

State Aid – This was the mechanism used to ensure that public funds are only applied to areas that are deemed not commercially viable, i.e. areas where no commercial provider indicated they have coverage or have plans to operate coverage. It has been replaced by UK Subsidy Control post-Brexit.

Universal Service Obligation (USO)

Universal Service Obligation (USO) – If you can’t get a download speed of at least 10 Mbit/s and an upload speed of at least 1 Mbit/s (this is defined as a ‘decent connection’), you can request an upgraded connection. You can make this request to BT, or to KCOM if you live in the Hull area. You don’t need to be an existing customer of BT or KCOM to apply. Find out more from Ofcom.

West Oxfordshire broadband programme

West Oxfordshire Broadband Programme – From 2016, West Oxfordshire District Council ran their own independent broadband programme. This completed in 2022. 


Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line (ADSL)

Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line (ADSL) – A form of Digital Subscriber Line connection that uses frequencies on regular, copper telephone lines that aren’t taken up by voice calls. It is possible to receive up to 24Mbps download over ADSL, however, upload speeds could be variable due to the condition of the wires, distance, and any noise or interference on the telephone line.

Cabinet capacity

Cabinet capacity – When a new FTTC cabinet is installed, Openreach know how many properties will be connected and they also make an assumption regarding how many connections will be taken-up. If the take-up is higher than anticipated, Openreach will need to add additional capacity by installing new connection cards into the cabinet. Openreach actively monitor each cabinet and will automatically order the new cards, so in many cases, the upgrade will happen before the cabinet reaches capacity. On occasion however, take-up may be higher than expected and can also happens very quickly, which means the cabinet will reach capacity quicker and then cause a short delay before new orders can be taken.

Core Network

Core Network – Also known as backhaul or backbone networks, this is the part of communications infrastructure that aggregates access connectivity (such as Radio Access Networks) and connects to the main internet gateways.

Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC)

Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC) – A fibre connection from the exchange to the local on-street cabinet, then a copper connection from the cabinet to end premise. This is also known as VDSL (see below).

Fibre-to-the-Premise (FTTP)

Fibre-to-the-Premise (FTTP) – A full fibre connection all the way from the telephone exchange to the end premise.

FTTP on Demand (FoD)

FTTP on Demand (FoD) – An ultrafast broadband service with speeds up to 330Mbps. It’s available for premises already in a Fibre-to-the-Cabinet (FTTC) area. It is built to order, so when you order FoD, Openreach will provide installation cost details for your premise.

Full Fibre

Full Fibre – Full fibre broadband uses fibre optic cables to connect the exchange directly to each premises (also known as FTTP). Full fibre connections are capable of download and upload speeds over 1 gigabit-per-second (1 Gbps). It is currently the fastest and most reliable broadband technology.

Gigabit Capable

Gigabit-capable – Gigabit internet can deliver average download speeds of at least 1 gigabit-per-second (1 Gbps)—that’s the same as 1,000 megabits per second (Mbps). 1 Gbps allows a high-definition film to be downloaded in under one minute. This definition also applies to the Virgin Media DOCSIS 3.1 network.inition also applies to the Virgin Media DOCSIS 3.1 network.

Internet Service provider (ISP)

Internet Service Provider (ISP) – An ISP is any company that provides internet access to homes and businesses. Internet can be provided through options including cable, Digital Subscriber Line, fibre optics, and wireless, with most ISPs offering all of these options. 

Long Term Evolution (LTE)

Long Term Evolution (LTE) – A worldwide standard for 4G wireless communication technology, the fourth generation of mobile network technology initiated in 2008.

Mobile Network Operators (MNOs)

Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) – MNOs can be considered a type of ISP, but with a specific focus on mobile services. MNOs provide wireless communication services to people and businesses. These services include voice calls, text messaging, and data transfer. MNOs build and maintain the infrastructure necessary for mobile connectivity, such as cell towers, base stations and switching centres. The key functions of MNOs are to manage network infrastructure, to invest in expanding their networks to improve coverage and capacity, and to allocate resources like bandwidth to ensure performance and to avoid network congestion. 

There are four MNOs in the UK known as the ‘big four’, these are Vodafone, EE, O2, and Three. There are many other mobile phone providers that are called Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs). Instead of owning their own mobile infrastructure, they rent space from the big four’s coverage.

Mobile Private Network (MPN)

Mobile Private Network (MPN) – MPNs are specialised networks designed for enterprise organisations. The operates using Long-Term Evolution (LTE) or 5G technology and serves the high-performance needs of businesses. They offer secure and reliable connectivity. MPNs can be integrated with an organisation’s existing IT infrastructure and can ensure data privacy. Unlike public mobile networks, MPNs offer service-level guarantees.

Next Generation Access (NGA)

Next Generation Access (NGA) –  Refers to higher performance technologies than broadband provided over traditional copper networks. NGA is fibre optic and can provide higher download and upload speeds to support access line speeds above 30Mbps. Examples of NGA include Fibre to the Premise (FTTP), Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC) and Fixed Wireless Access. Find out more about the different types of broadband on our broadband page.

5G Stand Alone (SA) and 5G Non-Stand Alone (NSA)

5G Stand Alone (SA) and 5G Non-Stand Alone (NSA) – Variants of 5G networks with SA providing a dedicated 5G RAN as well as 5G Core infrastructure. A 5G NSA network as a 5G RAN with 4G Core infrastructure.

Radio Access Network (RAN)

Radio Access Network (RAN) – The wireless infrastructure deployed in wireless networks such as 4G and 5G.

Small Cells

Small Cells – Small cells are small street-level transceivers for mobile networks. They help to improve coverage and capacity in urban areas. Find out more about Small Cells and our Small Cells projects here.


Transceivers – The two-way radios used as the active transmission equipment in mobile networks.

Very-high Digital Subscriber Line (VDSL)

Very-high Digital Subscriber Line (VDSL) – An improved version of ADSL technology that provides faster upload and download speeds and is a product available from the Fibre-to-the-Cabinet (FTTC). VDSL can be up to five times faster for download and ten times faster for upload speeds.


Wayleave – A legal document granting permission to access or cross privately owned land. The Digital Infrastructure Programme is now delivering to very rural areas, which can become problematic with highways (publicly owned land) being less suitable or not available; this can cause delays.

Experiencing Issues/Complaints

Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) scheme

Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) scheme – If your provider fails to repair a fault by when they say they will or you are unhappy with how long it is taking, you should follow their formal complaints procedure. Details should be available through their website or customer services. If your problem is still unresolved after eight weeks you can submit your complaint to an independent Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) scheme. Find out more here


Ofcom – Ofcom is the regulator and competition authority for the UK communications industries. 

Skip to content