Savings and gainshare to add another 3,000 superfast premises in Oxfordshire
There are those that say the BDUK process was a farce but it is very rare beast in terms of government (national and local) procurement where after a few years we can talk of 'efficiency savings' and money being recycled to go beyond the original contract goals.
Oxfordshire County Council is the latest area to announce what it is doing with its gainshare windfall of £2.56m which has arisen due to the levels of take-up (currently at above 45%) of the services already delivered, plus an additional £2m of efficiency savings. This has formed two new funds £4m to go towards getting superfast broadband to another 3,000 households and business premises, and a £600,000 fund for co-funding projects in conjunction with local communites.
While today’s announcement is more great news for people living and working in some of the harder to reach parts of our county, we are continuing to look for cost-effective ways to reach the final four per cent of county premises not yet able to access this important service.
We hope our co-funding initiative will play an important part in helping Oxfordshire to have the best access to digital services, even in the very rural areas. We’ve already had interest from several small eligible communities and are keen to hear from any other communities that might be interested.Councillor David Bartholomew, Oxfordshire County Council cabinet member
The 3,000 premises are expected to be rolled out to premises in Swalcliffe, Barford St John, Lyford, East Hendred, Ardington, Lockinge with delivery said to be 'from the end of next year', which we take to mean 2019.
|thinkbroadband analysis of Superfast Broadband Coverage across Oxfordshire as of 25th June 2017|
|Area||% fibre based||% superfast|
Over 24 Mbps
(change since August 2013)
30 Mbps or faster
|% Ultrafast||% Openreach FTTP||% Under 2 Mbps|
|% Under 10 Mbps|
|BT/BDUK Better Broadband for Oxfordshire Contract Delivery||99.4%||92.2%||90.3%||26.45% (**)||1.16%||1.1%||3.7%|
|South Oxfordshire District||98.9%||92.4%||90.5%||30%||1.98%||0.8%||3.3%|
|Vale of White Horse District||98.6%||95.5%||95.1%||61.2%||1.55%||0.5%||2.1%|
|West Oxfordshire District||95.5%||91%||89.5%||37.3%||0.32%||1%||4.4%|
(*) Some of the 3,997 Openreach native FTTP premises in the county overall may also have been delivered via the BDUK project, but the distinction is not always easy to decide, so when assessing the deliver of the project from our figures a small allowance needs to be made.
(**) This includes 18% overlap with Virgin Media cable areas, where cabinet delivery overlaps with a premises already able to get Virgin Media projects do not pay gap funding for that premise to BT. Therefore if assessing the total number of superfast premises you need to make an allowance for this.
The project is described as delivering to more than 72,000 premises in the county, and our figures show that they have not plucked the figure from thin air, of course if you are in the county and have seen no improvements it may feel like nothing has happened and those still with speeds under the USC/USO targets in the project area may feel doubly annoyed as they may have thought an improvement was on the way. For some in the sub 10 Mbps zone, it is possible the VDSL2 speeds are an improvement on older ADSL/ADSL2+ speeds, but not enough to be comfortable.
We get a result of 70,000 superfast premises delivered by the project, but our tracking of FTTP delivered either commercially or via the project has not been fully resolved in the county, therefore the difference is easily accounted for and our general pessimism on the range at which superfast speeds are available may also account for the difference. Gigaclear also has a significant presence in the county and accounts 3.6% of the ultrafast coverage across the county and adds to the total superfast coverage totals when you look at the county wide figure.