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Clarification of West Oxfordshire UK’s Broadband Investment

Monday, March 2nd, 2020 (11:50 am) - Score 598
gigaclear_engineers_in_rural_uk_field

A number of readers noted to us this morning that the West Oxfordshire District Council (WODC) appeared to have announced new funding to help high speed broadband spread across more of the county, which was said to form part of the local authority’s £44m budget for 2020/21. But this is not the correct context.

The report, which first surfaced in the Oxford Mail, had us searching through a year’s worth of council meeting documents and yet not a single one mentioned any new plans or funding for broadband; at least nothing beyond the existing Gigaclear contract (i.e. Gigaclear were contracted in 2017 and are extending “full fibreFTTP to around 11,000 premises in West Oxfordshire by Q1 2020 – a mix of publicly funded and commercial roll-out).

The bad news is that the broadband funding mention in the local newspaper isn’t new money and relates to that existing Gigaclear contract. The local authority clarified to ISPreview.co.uk today that the way their contract with the ISP is structured, the milestones which trigger payment from the council are towards the end of the build (the earlier milestones trigger BDUK payments which have been defrayed).

In other words, even though the project is said to be “progressing well“, WODC have not actually defrayed any of their funds yet but this process will begin during the new financial year (hence the mention of broadband funding). Just for the record, the council and Building Digital UK (BDUK) committed about £3.1m of public funding to Gigaclear’s £8m contract. The ISP has separately invested another £8m into their commercial roll-out in the county.

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Mark Jackson
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 Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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