Council wants to spend £13m to upgrade broadband service

First published in News thisisoxfordshire: Photograph of the Author by

THE county council wants to spend more than £13m to drag Oxfordshire’s broadband internet service into the 21st century.

Taxpayers’ money would be used to subsidise a private company to come into the county to increase some speeds more than tenfold.

The authority wants to provide at least 90 per cent of households and businesses with a minimum speed of 24 megabits per second (mbps) by 2015, and a minimum of 2mbps in the other 10 per cent.

The UK’s average broadband speed is 9mbps, but only eight per cent have “super fast” broadband speeds of 30mbps or higher.

Oxfordshire’s current average broadband speed is 12mbps, so the council’s plans would double that. Ten percent of the county currently has less than 2mbps though.

With a slowest speed of 2mbps, it would take more than four and a half hours to download a 4GB high definition film, while a 50mb music album would take roughly three minutes and 30 seconds.

Upgrading to 24mbps would mean downloading the HD film in around 20 minutes, and the album in around 20 seconds.

But county councillors have voiced their frustration ahead of the planned investment broadband, to plug “gaps” in coverage left by commercial providers.

The council wants to add £10m from its coffers to £3.7m from the Government.

That £13.7m would not be enough on its own to fund such large scale improvement.

It is intended as a “sweetener” to attract a private contractor to encourage them to invest in the area, with tenders invited in the new year. Broadband providers will decide what equipment and methods to use and councillors will pick their preferred option.

But cabinet member for communications Nick Carter said he was annoyed the money had to be spent at all.

He said: “It’s ridiculous that public money is having to put right what the market should have sorted out years ago.”

He said broadband needed to be viewed as an “essential utility” like water or gas, and said the council had to act where private companies had failed.

Conservative councillor Caroline Newton, who represents the rural division of Watlington, said she had been lobbied hard by small business owners and residents.

She said: “This is probably the one matter I get the most correspondence about, more than any other issue.

“People in the villages are very concerned they won’t be within the 90 per cent who benefit from this, so they are looking at other options with the rest of the community.”

Carterton Conservative councillor Peter Handley has contested officers’ claims the increased speeds would create 1,500 jobs because businesses will grow as a result of the higher speeds.

He said: “To forecast that all these people will get jobs is totally pie-in-the-sky.

“At the end of the day it’s a failure by companies like BT, and we shouldn’t be using public funds to make an awful lot of money.

But BT, one of a number of commercial operators in discussion with the council to take on the contract, contested claims it had failed people in rural Oxfordshire.

Spokesman Emma Littlejohn said: “BT is doing more than anyone else to bring faster broadband to homes and businesses across the UK. It’s a massive engineering task and more than 170,000 Oxfordshire homes and businesses are included in our fibre deployment plans.

“BT is certainly being brave and taking risks.”

She said more than 55 per cent of premises in Oxfordshire now have access to BT’s fibre network and this is expected to reach 64 per cent by the spring.

She added: “Deddington, a small rural Oxfordshire village, is the UK’s first fibre only exchange pilot.

“This exciting and innovative project will see every home and business in Deddington connected to fibre optic cables capable of delivering ultrafast broadband speeds of up to 300mbps.”

Comments (6)

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9:35am Wed 5 Dec 12

wiltz says...

That's £13.7m of our money that should be coming from BT, Maybe if BT were able to do the job that they claim they do the tax payer would not be facing this bill. BT claim to be a communications company but yet they can't even communicate amongst themselves properly. The constant lies that they present to the British public in there advertising campaigns are a joke.
That's £13.7m of our money that should be coming from BT, Maybe if BT were able to do the job that they claim they do the tax payer would not be facing this bill. BT claim to be a communications company but yet they can't even communicate amongst themselves properly. The constant lies that they present to the British public in there advertising campaigns are a joke. wiltz
  • Score: 0

12:47pm Wed 5 Dec 12

Andrew:Oxford says...

Sandy Wimpole-Smythe wrote:
Carterton Conservative councillor Peter Handley has contested officers’ claims the increased speeds would create 1,500 jobs because businesses will grow as a result of the higher speeds.


Typical Tory lies, if anything jobs will be reduced as more businesses move to internet based sales etc and therefore not need to employ s many staff. Dumb arse TORIES.
Are you sure you understand what the word "contested" means?
[quote][p][bold]Sandy Wimpole-Smythe[/bold] wrote: Carterton Conservative councillor Peter Handley has contested officers’ claims the increased speeds would create 1,500 jobs because businesses will grow as a result of the higher speeds. Typical Tory lies, if anything jobs will be reduced as more businesses move to internet based sales etc and therefore not need to employ s many staff. Dumb arse TORIES.[/p][/quote]Are you sure you understand what the word "contested" means? Andrew:Oxford
  • Score: 0

12:50pm Wed 5 Dec 12

Andrew:Oxford says...

I upgraded from standard to "superfast" fibre broadband about 6 months ago.

The "maximum" advertised speed is 24 megabit. The actual speed is around 6 megabit.
I upgraded from standard to "superfast" fibre broadband about 6 months ago. The "maximum" advertised speed is 24 megabit. The actual speed is around 6 megabit. Andrew:Oxford
  • Score: 0

12:59pm Wed 5 Dec 12

Accelebrate says...

No complaints here...

http://speedtest.net
/result/2145312106.p
ng
No complaints here... http://speedtest.net /result/2145312106.p ng Accelebrate
  • Score: 0

3:16pm Wed 5 Dec 12

Myron Blatz says...

Seem to remember (not that many years ago!) that we were having our streets and roads 'dug-up' overnight to facilitate all the cable and tv 'cowboys' who were given the 'green light' to lay cables to 'vastly improve our home computer, business and domestic telephone and tv experience' ....... and make huge, fat profits for the companies and equipment suppliers! Then, there was the rash of 'mobile phone masts' which sprang-up across towns, cities and entire counties. Now, we are being 'sold another bill of goods' for the upgrading and supply of 'super-fast broadband' into our homes, schools and business places, with the promise of ever-faster broadband speeds, and for which - in the main - BT has control. Even if your broadband and landline provider isn't BT (which usually charges more than its competitors, unless offering 'free 6 months') the reality is that you are still going to have to pay for the BT landline, in addition to ch
arges which your own provider makes. So much for having opened-up the market, stopping BT's monopoly, making it more competitive, and cheaper - especially when the standard copper and fibre-optic line charges have just been increased ..... yet again! As for these supposed 'faster broadband speeds' mentioned in the sales and marketing blurb, if you read the 'small print' you'll also find that they don't actually guarantee maximum speeds, only that the systems are capable of handling such speeds. My neighbour's son lives less than a mile from the nearest BT Exchange, but apparently only gets about 60% of the maximum speed he pays for - and many others across the County get even slower speeds! All this, of course, at much higher charges for getting fibre-optic broadband - which especially affects small firms trying to stay in-business in a recession.
Seem to remember (not that many years ago!) that we were having our streets and roads 'dug-up' overnight to facilitate all the cable and tv 'cowboys' who were given the 'green light' to lay cables to 'vastly improve our home computer, business and domestic telephone and tv experience' ....... and make huge, fat profits for the companies and equipment suppliers! Then, there was the rash of 'mobile phone masts' which sprang-up across towns, cities and entire counties. Now, we are being 'sold another bill of goods' for the upgrading and supply of 'super-fast broadband' into our homes, schools and business places, with the promise of ever-faster broadband speeds, and for which - in the main - BT has control. Even if your broadband and landline provider isn't BT (which usually charges more than its competitors, unless offering 'free 6 months') the reality is that you are still going to have to pay for the BT landline, in addition to ch arges which your own provider makes. So much for having opened-up the market, stopping BT's monopoly, making it more competitive, and cheaper - especially when the standard copper and fibre-optic line charges have just been increased ..... yet again! As for these supposed 'faster broadband speeds' mentioned in the sales and marketing blurb, if you read the 'small print' you'll also find that they don't actually guarantee maximum speeds, only that the systems are capable of handling such speeds. My neighbour's son lives less than a mile from the nearest BT Exchange, but apparently only gets about 60% of the maximum speed he pays for - and many others across the County get even slower speeds! All this, of course, at much higher charges for getting fibre-optic broadband - which especially affects small firms trying to stay in-business in a recession. Myron Blatz
  • Score: 0

7:11pm Wed 5 Dec 12

Pavinder Msvarensy says...

This story is plain factually incorrect, do they actually believe that only 8% of the population is connected to VIRGIN MEDIA, Rubbish and plain lies yet again to persecute Mr Branson and his company. Virgin has 5 million+ customers on fibre optic, and there are many times the number of houses cabled up but taking sky so at least 50% of the population can receive it. I just tested my speed on a wireless router with 4 computers using it, server Maidenhead, Ping 25ms download 26.5 Mbps. Not bad seeing it is in the Virgin Slow down period as well. after 10pm it will be back to over 50. Why does the OM only quote BT figures in their stories and denegrade Mr Branson? A few years ago he was the darling boy and was not out of the paper, I wonder what it was that he done to upset them that was so bad.
This story is plain factually incorrect, do they actually believe that only 8% of the population is connected to VIRGIN MEDIA, Rubbish and plain lies yet again to persecute Mr Branson and his company. Virgin has 5 million+ customers on fibre optic, and there are many times the number of houses cabled up but taking sky so at least 50% of the population can receive it. I just tested my speed on a wireless router with 4 computers using it, server Maidenhead, Ping 25ms download 26.5 Mbps. Not bad seeing it is in the Virgin Slow down period as well. after 10pm it will be back to over 50. Why does the OM only quote BT figures in their stories and denegrade Mr Branson? A few years ago he was the darling boy and was not out of the paper, I wonder what it was that he done to upset them that was so bad. Pavinder Msvarensy
  • Score: 0

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