£67k pledge for broadband

thisisoxfordshire: James Dolleymore with the £70-a-month satellite service he currently used James Dolleymore with the £70-a-month satellite service he currently used

VILLAGERS have pledged to raise £67,000 to tackle “incredibly slow” internet speeds if they get Government cash.

They have begun work on applying for money from a Government fund that would bring high speed connection to 61 properties in Noke, north east of Oxford.

If they commit to raising £67,000 they could get £83,000 from the Rural Community Broadband Fund which was set up by the Government to offer superfast broadband up to 24Mbps to hard-to-reach rural communities.

Self-employed businessman James Dolleymore got so fed up with slow speeds he bought a £70-a-month satellite service.

He was getting speeds of 0.17Mbps through BT and said he struggled to hear callers to the landline as power was so low. Now his web speeds have jumped to 20Mbps but he still experiences time delays during phone calls and wants full broadband.

Mr Dolleymore, who runs a cottage holiday rental firm and is one of four villagers leading the broadband campaign, said: “We are five miles from the centre of Oxford, it is disgraceful BT don’t provide proper phone lines, let alone broadband. They have enough money to not be subsidised by the Government or Europe.”

Residents will contribute different amounts, he said, but final costings have not been agreed.

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Villagers relying on existing copper phone lines instead of superfast fibre cables direct to homes face frustrating delays, he said.

He added: “It is incredibly slow, it is practically non-existent and is unreliable. If you want to upload and update your iPhone you are looking at well over 24 hours. There is constant buffering if you try to stream video.”

Villagers have looked at funding the work privately but have yet to make a decision on how the service will be provided, he said.

The consultation seeks views from businesses and residents over the scope and objectives of the cash.

Without the service, villagers will be “socially and economically disadvantaged in this hard-to-reach rural area” it says.

BT spokesman Paul Hayward said: “No one has done more than BT to improve broadband speeds and connectivity across the UK. We have committed £2.5bn to deliver fibre broadband to two-thirds of UK premises by spring 2014, more than 18 months ahead of our original schedule.”

Investment in fibre broadband is based on cost, topography, population covered and likely demand, he said.

The Government fund is for villages not covered by a £25m Oxfordshire County Council project to bring superfast broadband to the county by 2015. This includes £10m from the council, £4m from the Government and £11m from BT to cover 90 per cent of Oxfordshire.

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