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First Fibre Ducts Laid as Cotswold Broadband Target 9,000 Oxfordshire Premises

Friday, Nov 16th, 2012 (10:29 am) - Score 1,865

The Cotswold Broadband (CBB) project, which aims to roll-out an open access and 100Mbps capable Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) network to 90% of home and businesses in the Chipping Norton area of west Oxfordshire (England, UK), has released an Investment Prospectus and laid its first fibre optic ducts.

The project, which is hoping to raise investment worth around £7 million from various different sources, is still “quite some way” from starting to lay its own ducts to take the fibre optic cables, yet it has this week been able to use existing trenches, when they become available, during infrastructure works in the area.

Hugo Pickering, CBB Team Member, explained:

We recently laid our ducts alongside power ducting in Leafield. This type of infrastructure sharing is always preferable as it means only one dig and thereby less disruption for customers, as well as a single trench to be unearthed in future, although this one won’t need to be touched for many years to come.”

The network will predominantly focus on areas where there is already a lack of competition in the market (i.e. only BT services are available), which has left many locals to suffer from sub-2Mbps broadband speeds. A map of broadband performance in the area reveals the problem in more colourful detail (CBB will mostly focus on the red zones).

Crucially CBB is not itself an ISP and will instead be providing wholesale services to internet providers so that customers can choose their own operator or remain with their existing one. However a Community Service Provider (CSP) model is being considered, whereby CBB would set-up a social enterprise to offer community services over their infrastructure. The idea sounds very loosely similar to B4RN’s excellent effort in Lancashire.

At the same time Thinkbroadband and The Oxford Times have also spotted the release of a new £10m Investment Prospectus, which has been launched in association with Broadway Partners and covers several separate projects in the Devon and Dorset areas.

As it stands today CBB is still working on various funding applications, one of which has been made to the government’s Rural Community Broadband Fund (RCBF), and hopes to have more concrete information to report by the end of this year or early 2013. In either case we wish them the best of luck as projects like this can really make a huge difference to otherwise digitally disadvantaged communities.

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By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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