Oxfordshire village partners with BT to bring home the broadband
Funds raised by residents of Islip to help deliver fibre broadband to local community
The residents of Islip, Oxfordshire were celebrating today after the community signed a deal with BT to bring fibre broadband to the roadside cabinet serving almost all homes in the village.
Residents have agreed to raise just over £11,000 to contribute towards the cost of laying a new fibre network to the village, so that the majority of local households and businesses can start enjoying broadband speeds in excess of 30Mb/s.
Islip had not been included in BT’s £2.5 billion commercial fibre roll-out plans because the economics of delivering fibre to this small community were too challenging. However, the proximity of Islip to the local telephone exchange at Kidlington – which BT has already upgraded to fibre – and the additional cash raised by the villagers has helped BT to build a case for bringing fibre to the locality.
Following the agreement, Openreach, BT’s local network business, will start work on connecting the roadside cabinet serving Islip to the fibre network in Kidlington. The planned engineering work is expected to be completed in June 2013, and the majority of premises in the area will have access to broadband speeds in excess of 30Mb/s, with many more seeing significantly higher speeds of up to 80Mb/s.
Alison Mitchell, Chair of Islip Parish Council, said: “Due to the distance from the local exchange at Kidlington, our villagers have received extremely slow broadband to date over the existing copper lines. High-speed broadband is of critical importance for many residents, and especially people who run businesses in, or work regularly from, the village, so we decided to take action.
“We spoke to BT about how we could boost their business case to bring fibre to the cabinet serving the village. They worked out what the extra cost would be, and we have raised the funds ourselves to make up the gap in the economics. The arrival of fibre broadband in the village will make a massive difference to many of our lives.”
Bill Murphy, BT’s Managing Director for Next Generation Access, said: “We’re delighted Islip’s residents took such an active approach; they talked to us about the best options for their community, and together we found a solution which will bring fibre speeds to almost all of the village. Openreach’s fibre network is openly available to all communications providers, so residents will be able to choose their ISP, and a pricing package which suits them – that’s a great result for the village, and they made it happen for themselves.
“We would encourage other communities to talk to us about their options; we want to provide fibre speeds to as many people as possible and in many cases local residents can make a real difference in bringing fibre to their area.”
BT’s local network business Openreach is making fibre broadband available to around two-thirds of UK homes and businesses on a commercial basis during Spring 2014 1 using a mix of fibre to the cabinet (FTTC) and fibre to the premises (FTTP) technologies. More than 13 million premises can already access fibre broadband and that number is growing all the time. In Oxfordshire, over 165,000 homes already have access to Openreach’s fibre network, across 16 exchange areas including Abingdon, Cowley, Banbury and Witney.
Both technologies offer speeds many times faster than the current UK average, reported by the regulator Ofcom to be 9Mb/s. FTTC, where fibre is delivered to new street cabinets, offers download speeds of up to 80Mb/s and upload speeds of up to 20 Mb/s 2.
FTTP, where fibre runs all the way to homes and businesses, offers a variety of download speeds with the current top speed being 330 Mb/s 2. From Spring 2013 BT aims to make speeds of 330Mb/s 2 commercially available in any area where fibre broadband has been deployed 3.
Internet users with a fibre broadband connection can do much more online, all at the same time. A family can download a movie, watch a TV replay service, surf the net and play games online simultaneously. A whole album can be downloaded in less than 30 seconds and a feature length HD movie in less than 10 minutes, whilst high-resolution photos can be uploaded to Facebook in seconds.
The upload speeds are some of the fastest widely available to consumers in the UK, with large video and data files being sent almost instantly and hi-resolution photos posted online in seconds. And high quality voice and video calls mean businesses can keep in touch with customers while they cut down on travel.
For further information on Openreach’s fibre broadband programme visit www.superfast-openreach.co.uk
1 BT’s deployment plans are subject to an acceptable environment for investment.
2 These are the top wholesale speeds available from Openreach to all service providers; speeds offered by service providers may vary.
3 Openreach will levy an installation charge for FTTP on demand. It will be up to service providers to then decide whether they pass that onto businesses or consumers wishing to take advantage of the product.