Press release from West Oxfordshire

The following post is a press release from West Oxfordshire District Council on the delivery of the network.

People holding a 24 core fibre cable

David Thrower of Gigaclear, Cllr Richard Langridge, Phil Martin of West Oxfordshire District Council, Matthew Hare of Gigaclear and Graham Shelton, Chairman of Northmoor Parish Council

Construction work to bring one of the fastest and most up-to-date broadband networks to a West Oxfordshire village is now underway.

Driven by the local community and supported by West Oxfordshire District Council, 521 properties in Northmoor, Moreton and Bablockhythe (including the mobile home park) will soon be able to access the new high-speed communications network.

Engineers have started installing fibre optic cables and connection points throughout the village and the new ultrafast broadband technology is expected to go live this summer (2014).

Over two years ago a group of villagers who were frustrated by slow internet speeds and patchy connections, came together to look at how they could get better broadband connectivity.

Following detailed preparation work, the Northmoor Community Project has successfully obtained approval to £186,000 of funding under the Government’s Rural Community Broadband Fund, which is jointly funded by Defra (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) and BDUK (Broadband Delivery UK).

In March 2014, with help from West Oxfordshire District Council, Northmoor selected Gigaclear to build and operate their new broadband fibre network.

Cllr Richard Langridge, Cabinet Member for the Local Economy and Communities at West Oxfordshire District Council, said: “Every credit must be given to the collective determination, hard work and tenacity of the Northmoor Project Group for making this happen. We have been behind them all the way as we are acutely aware of how important it is to have a fast, reliable internet service, particularly for rural businesses. This scheme will make a huge difference to those living and working in Northmoor and the District Council is striving to obtain high speed broadband throughout the whole of West Oxfordshire.”

Graham Shelton, Chairman of Northmoor Parish Council and leader of the Community Broadband Project, said: “This is a historic moment of national as well as local importance. Many so-called fibre broadband projects only offer fibre to the cabinet, but ours offers a fibre connection to every single house and business in the community. I can’t wait for the network to go live next month, and to a celebration of this community achievement in the Red Lion, our very own community-owned pub! It’s been a colossal amount of work, and it is a real pleasure to thank everyone at local, district, county and national levels for the enormous efforts and sheer grit and determination to navigate us through the grant process to goal”

Simon Harrison, a member of the Community Broadband Project team, said: “It is very exciting that after two and a half years of paperwork, planning and negotiations, the actual build process is now moving really fast.  In a matter of months we will have a network that is not just able to meet today’s requirements, but is a long-term investment able to meet the future needs of the community as well.  Many residents will be moving from the misery of no broadband at all to a service that is the equal of anything in the country.  We really appreciate the financial support from Defra and BDUK that has made this possible despite the challenges of building in such a thinly-spread community, and the practical hands-on support of West Oxfordshire District Council that has made our dream a reality.”

Matthew Hare, Chief Executive of Gigaclear said, “Construction of the new pure fibre network here in Northmoor started at the end of May and the crews are making great progress building the new infrastructure.  The project will run on through June, and in July we expect to be delivering symmetric Gigabit Internet access to the homes and businesses of Moreton, Northmoor and Bablock Hythe.  Serving this very rural and spread out community has been made possible through the support of West Oxfordshire District Council and the Rural Community Broadband Fund.  We are confident that this quiet communications revolution will transform the lives and prospects of all it serves.”

Government Minister for Communications Ed Vaizey said: “This is brilliant news for the homes and businesses of Northmoor, Moreton and Bablockhythe who will now be able to access superfast broadband speeds.”

“Taking superfast broadband to the more remote areas of the UK understandably presents us with challenges, which is why we created this fund specifically for these locations.”
Minister for Rural Affairs Dan Rogerson said: “Fast and reliable broadband is crucial in building a stronger economy and fairer society as it enables rural businesses to grow and compete.

“That is why we have given £186,000 worth of funding to support this exciting new project. We expect it will make a huge difference to those living and working in Northmoor by opening up business opportunities and access to convenient services like online banking.”

Additional notes:

The Northmoor scheme is just one aspect of West Oxfordshire District Council’s involvement in rural broadband projects. A ‘Better Broadband’ project is under way to bring superfast broadband to at least 90 per cent of premises in the county by the end of 2015, as part of a partnership between Oxfordshire County Council, the Government’s Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) programme and service provider BT.

BDUK is managing the UK’s superfast rollout programme. For more information visit the DCMS broadband webpage.

The now closed Rural Community Broadband Fund was jointly funded by Defra and BDUK and provides grants to communities to establish superfast broadband in hard-to-reach rural areas. For more information visit Defra’s RCBF web page.

The District Council has agreed to pledge £1.6m to boost the project locally and ensure that high-speed broadband is provided to as many residential and business properties in the District, with the aim of getting as close as possible to 100% coverage. Work on this project continues.

For more information about Northmoor’s chosen service provider, Gigaclear, see http://www.gigaclear.com/
For more information on the Better Broadband countywide project, see : http://www.oxfordshire.gov.uk/broadband

Build progress – 18/06/2014

The build is progressing well, slightly ahead of schedule!

Standlake Road is now almost entirely complete and the contractors are making great progress up towards Lynch Hill. The schedule calls for the team to start on the main road through the village (Church Road) next Monday and Thameside, Chapel Lane and Griffiths Close the week after. The main road should be finished by the 4th of July, while the rest of the village and Bablockhythe should be completed by the 11th.

Of course, this is just the network itself – installation of individual properties will start soon where orders have been placed already. Gigaclear are hoping to have the network lit and operational at the end of July, if not a little earlier!