The Better Broadband for Oxfordshire programme is on target to achieve above 95% coverage of superfast broadband across Oxfordshire by December 2017. This coverage can be attributed as follows:
- Baseline commercial coverage 69%
- Phase 1 coverage 22.5%
- Phase 2 coverage 3.9%
- Phase 3 coverage 0.9%
- Total c 96.3% coverage
Whilst this places Oxfordshire in the upper quartile of counties in terms of having access to superfast broadband, we anticipate there to be approximately 8,500 premises which will not have access, and for which Oxfordshire County Council has no fully funded solution, due to the very high cost of intervention required.
Co-funded fibre broadband partnerships
The Co-Funded Fibre Broadband Partnership initiative seeks to enable people living or working at premises in this final 4%, to be provided with a solution whereby the county council will part-fund and manage the delivery of superfast broadband.
Why can’t I just be included in the existing Better Broadband for Oxfordshire rollout?
There is a finite amount of public funding available Oxfordshire County Council has agreed to fully fund deployment of superfast broadband up to the threshold of what contractually is described as a high cost structure. This is currently £1,700 per premise.
The co-funded option presents an equitable way forward for those where costs exceed the high cost structure threshold
How does it work?
This initiative is set up to be instigated by members of the community. The first step is to register your interest by completing our expression of interest form.
- A community lead will be required to liaise with us and BT in the first instance. This is a very important role, where the community lead will be best placed to build an understanding of which premises in the location are not served with fibre broadband, and would be willing in principle to make a financial contribution to the cost of building the infrastructure. The community lead will also be responsible for gathering the local funding required to support the county council contribution.
- The community lead will be required to initiate contact with the BT Community Fibre Partnership team (OCC will provide these details and facilitate if necessary).
- Once a Community Fibre Partnership is registered, BT will be required to design a solution and provide a quote to the community lead. Once this is received it should be passed to OCC.
- The community lead will then need to arrange payment of the local funding required to Oxfordshire County Council. An example of how this is calculated is below
EXAMPLE: There are eight premises in the community without superfast broadband and willing in principle to co-fund the deployment of the necessary infrastructure. The details of the eight addresses are provided to BT, who respond with a quote of £20,000. In this example, OCC would fund the first £13,600 (8 premises X £1,700). The community would need to raise the gap of £6,400, equating to £800 per premise local funding.
- The community lead would deposit the required amount of local funding with OCC, which will in turn raise a change control with BT, for inclusion of the solution within the Better Broadband for Oxfordshire Programme delivery schedule.
How long does it take?
From the point of the change control being raised, to the service going live and accepting orders, we would expect a period of up to twelve months. During this period OCC will provide the community lead with progress updates reflecting the end-to-end process milestones (M0 = survey and outline planning; M1 connection to fibre backhaul, installation of cabinet and power; M2 = commissioning / ready for service activation).
What will the solution comprise of, what service will I get?
The solution will be planned by BT to achieve a minimum of 24Mbps for every property in scope. In reality most premises would receive speeds significantly above this. The solution would be designed to be the most affordable, and could be Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC), Fibre to the Premise (FTTP), or Fibre to the Remote Node (FttRN). It is not possible to request a preferred solution.
Does the solution have to be provided by BT?
Yes. OCC appreciates there are other infrastructure providers which may be willing to provide a solution where the community part-funds the infrastructure and we would be able to introduce any communities to alternative providers operating in Oxfordshire, but we would not as the county council be able to co-fund. Public funds are allowable for investment in private sector owned infrastructure only under considerable oversight as to legality of state aid, and local authority procurement rules. The process for gaining the requisite permissions pertaining to these rules is complex and time consuming. OCC would need to run this process for all potential suppliers which could conceivably provide a service, ensuring technical and commercial compliance. This would add delay and cost. The BT contract is available now as it was derived following a year-long procurement and compliance check with state aid rules.
What other information is available?
The County Council scheme is based on the BT Community Fibre Partnership programme. The main difference being that OCC would take over the role of delivery partner once the funds are received and the change control executed with BT. A useful source of information is thus http://www.communityfibre.bt.com/