Businesses in Rural Oxfordshire (BiRO)

The Businesses in Rural Oxfordshire (BiRO) project was an initiative funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) under the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE). In 2018, Oxfordshire County Council was awarded a grant of £6.3 million to provide full-fibre broadband to as many rural businesses as possible in the county. The goal was to enhance digital connectivity and support economic growth in rural areas by ensuring reliable and high-speed internet access for these businesses.

The project was initiated with a public procurement which resulted in two contracts, one with BT and another with Airband, to collectively deliver full-fibre broadband to up to 750 businesses in the most remote parts of Oxfordshire.

The BiRO Project exceeded its target of 750 businesses, successfully delivering full-fibre broadband to 777 businesses and 818 residential properties.

Why We Supported This Project

Unlocking Economic Potential

Oxfordshire’s Strategic Economic Plan (SEP) serves as our county’s economic roadmap. It is designed to bolster economic performance, tap into potential opportunities, and foster growth. Our commitment lies in managing the county’s economic expansion while ensuring sustainability and inclusivity.

The Rural Challenge

For rural businesses, access to resilient and fast broadband has been a constraint. These enterprises require reliable connectivity to thrive, collaborate, and compete effectively. However, historical infrastructure, primarily copper telephone wires installed over a century ago, no longer meets the demands of today’s digital landscape.

A Central Policy Objective

Both Oxfordshire County Council and central government recognised the urgency of addressing this issue. Our joint policy objective is clear: ultrafast and gigabit-capable broadband connectivity for all residents and businesses.

Driving Economic Growth and Sustainability

Our support for broadband intervention is grounded in evidence. By enhancing connectivity, we empower economic growth and sustain employment opportunities. Moreover, reduced travel needs contribute significantly to our carbon-neutral targets.

Skip to content