Residents and businesses in Banbury are set to benefit from ultrafast fibre broadband after network provider Openreach confirmed the town will be included in the next tranche of their Fibre First programme.
Openreach is aiming to connect ten million sites to fibre to the premises (FTTP) broadband by the mid-2020s. FFTP infrastructure will deliver enhanced speeds - >300Mbps compared with current superfast broadband speeds which are typically around 30Mbps - and fewer dropouts thanks to resilient fibre optic cables connected directly to homes and businesses. Banbury is in only the second cohort of market towns chosen by Openreach and is the first place in Oxfordshire to be signed up to the rollout.
Conservative-led Oxfordshire County Council has continued to prioritise the build of local broadband connections. In 2014 only 69% of Oxfordshire homes and businesses had access to superfast broadband. That figure now stands at 98% as a result of the creation of the Better Broadband for Oxfordshire programme – now known as the Digital Infrastructure programme – a Council partnership with Openreach and other commercial providers including Zzoom, Gigaclear, Airband, and Swish, that has added over 80,000 connections to local networks, including in rural areas that have historically suffered from significant access issues.
The inclusion of Banbury in Openreach’s Fibre First scheme is the next step in Oxfordshire’s digital evolution.
Welcoming the announcement Banbury Conservatives said: “It is fantastic news that this world-class, future-proof digital technology is coming to Banbury. Recent months have highlighted just how critical the internet is in helping us stay connected with others and its vital role in keeping businesses and our economy moving. The rollout of fibre to the premises broadband will transform the way Banbury residents live, work, and socialise and will be a step-change for local businesses, helping them to improve their online operations and extend their reach locally, nationally, and internationally.”
Councillor Ian Corkin, Oxfordshire County Council Cabinet Member for Business and Partnerships and Conservative Councillor for Ploughley added: “This is incredibly good news for Banbury. As Chair of the Digital Infrastructure Partnership, my number one priority is to deliver world-class digital infrastructure across the county to supercharge our local economy and unleash a vast range of opportunities across all sectors.
We are delighted that Openreach has committed this investment in Banbury. Our partnership with the Oxfordshire planning authorities and our own Council Highways team is assisting telecoms operators to resolve wayleave problems, communications related planning applications and access to our highways. We look forward to more announcements of this nature in the future.”