“Superfast” broadband was rolled out to Uffington in 2017. This means that fibre cables were installed “to the cabinet” (FTTC) in the village, with traditional existing copper wires from the cabinet (the green Openreach box opposite the church) connecting to individual properties. Many businesses and households have taken advantage of this faster internet speed (up to 70Mbps). A summary from OCC on the status of broadband in Uffington (as at March 2021) delivered under the 'Better Broadband for Oxfordshire' programme is here along with further details of Oxfordshire broadband.
With many more people and businesses now working from home, the Parish Council has been asked to look into the possibility of establishing a community project to install “ultrafast” or “full fibre” broadband to the premises (FTTP) with fibre going directly into homes and businesses. This should provide a significant improvement to services with a much faster and more reliable “gigabit ready” (typically 150Mbps but up to 1000Mbps = 1Gbps) service that would “future-proof” our communications infrastructure, and may even improve property values.
Because this is a rural area, government grants are available to connect businesses (£3500), households (£1500), the school and Museum. This could eliminate altogether the cost to individuals of installing full-fibre. In addition, Oxfordshire County Council has just introduced a scheme to support better rural broadband which can top some of these vouchers up to £7000.
The current situation with the project is outlined below, but if you have any further questions or suggestions, please send an email to email@example.com or speak to Mike Oldnall or Kat Foxhall.
The past year has been very disappointing in terms of progress with our attempted Community Project. Last October we passed an updated requirement list (see below) to Openreach (OR) for costing and, despite much chasing, we never heard anything from them and the Government funding scheme ended in June 2022. On a more psotive note, Airband have, at their own commercial risk, expanded their fibre network from the 40 or so Business in Rural Oxfordshire (BiRO) properties to include virtually the whole of Uffington (remember the 'poles saga'?!). This work to provide fibre along all the main roads hrough Uffington was completed in July but no commercial arrangement is yet in place to enable properties to connect to the full fibre service (FTTP). Airband's website airband.co.uk says 'Your area soon' but 'soon' remians undefined!
Gigabit Hubs Scheme - School / Museum / THMH
Connection of school / hall / museum will also not be affected by current voucher pause, as this/these projects are being administered by OCC.
With the end of the previous voucher scheme it remian to be seen exactly what teh Government will do (notwithstanding any election promises!) next. It appears they will be letting 'sweep up' contracts but these will not be in place until at least Summer 2023 - see Oxfordshire and West Berkshire Public Review closure notice - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk). However, in my opinion this may be overtyaken for this area if Airband can get their commercial arrangements in place before that.
Openreach finally returned our bid with costings for 2 options. One based on our submission and a second with more properties. The return also contained a number of erroneous entries. We have responded with the errors corrected and proposed two revised options for re-costing.
As might be expected, costs are pushed up by connecting properties that are further away from the core infrastructure connections. Rather than the small number of 'green boxes' used by the current 'fibre broadband', a much higher number (more than 60) of 'distribution points' (DPs) would be created with each DP serving up to about 12 premises. Maximising the number of people signed up to each DP will keep costs down. eg Craven Common would be served by 1 or DPs. with only 2 or 3 properties conncted to each the cost would be shared betwen those households. If more properties were connected it would require no more DPS but the cost would be shared by more households therby reducing the cost per household.
Whichever option is taken forward it can be expected that we will need more people to sign up (or 'pledge' in Openreach parlance) in order to make the project economically viable - ie so that it can be covered entirely by the government voucher scheme and Openreach funding.
Following the Broadband Zoom meeting on , those expressing an interest in joining a Community Broadband project delivered by Openreach were invited to submit their names to be put forward for registration. Over 80 premises, including 14 businesses, asked to be included and the list was submitted to Openreach on . An initial costing for the project is expected by 27 June. A map showing most of the premises put forward is here (blue are business premises and red are a separate Business in Rural Oxfordshire' Airband project run through OCC). Unfortunately map limitations have excluded some of the Baulking locations. If you want to check that you are on the submitted list or have any other questions, please email Kat/Mike at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Following the Broadband Survey in November 2018 (see below) a Zoom information/Way Ahead meeting was hosted by Kat Foxhall and Mike Oldnall to on 28 April 2021. The meeting was attended by some 35 interested people including the OCC Communities Broadband team and Councillor Yvonne Constance.
Notes and questions from the meeting are here
Following a flyer drop by broadband company Airband in April 2020, the Council, assisted by Kat Foxhall, ran a short survey in November 2020 to understand better current broadband use and speeds and guage the level of interest in 'full fibre' broadband. The survey has now ended and you can see the results in a Downloadable summary of the results.
The project will be following up the survey by examining options and costs for providing superfast (Gbit) broadband to those interested. A public forum will be organised once the best options have been identified. The date for the forun, which will be conducted by Zoom is Wednesday 28 April (see summary above).