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Oxfordshire UK’s GigaHubs Full Fibre Build Nears Completion

Monday, Nov 27th, 2023 (9:24 am) - Score 680
Oxfordshire-GigaHubs-Project-Map-Nov-2023-Council-PR

The Oxfordshire County Council (OCC) in England has issued a progress update on their ongoing £7m project to deploy a new gigabit-capable full fibre broadband network to over 175 public sector sites (schools, hospitals etc.), which reveals that 171 of the sites have been completed, while a further 22 sites are now due to be upgraded by 2024.

The project, which is part of the GigaHubs (formerly Local Full Fibre Networks) scheme under the UK Government’s £5bn Project Gigabit programme, first began in 2021 (here) and has so far achieved most of its delivery milestones. Funding for the 20-year deal included a £5m investment from Oxfordshire County Council (OCC) and around £2m from GigaHubs (Project Gigabit) itself.

Neos Networks hold the contract for this, but they’re partly acting as an aggregator, bringing together several connectivity suppliers — including Openreach, Virgin Media (Business) and alternative network ISP Gigaclear — to help build, manage and operate the new infrastructure. Once complete, it is expected to have rolled out over 1,500 km of new fibre, laying the foundations for a “smart county“.

The county council has also just showcased the benefits of its Gigahubs project at Milton-Under-Wychwood Library, near Burford. The library’s new gigabit capable connection is said to have decreased the site’s operating expenses and improved energy efficiency, although they don’t say by how much. The resulting cost savings and environmental advantages are claimed to have resulted in a more efficient and productive environment for both staff and visitors.

Councillor Neil Fawcett said:

“Transforming broadband infrastructure across the county is benefiting residents who use public services and community spaces. These include libraries, schools, village halls, GP surgeries, leisure centres, museums and fire stations.

We are proud to be able to showcase government investment in digital Oxfordshire to the minister, allowing him to see first hand, here at Wychwood Library, the quality of life improvements we are bringing to residents.”

Sir John Whittingdale MP, Minister for Data and Digital Infrastructure, said:

“We want to make sure that no matter where you live or work, everyone has access to reliable internet, which is why we’re spending billions to upgrade local networks through our £5 billion Project Gigabit investment.

From Goring Heath to North Aston, thousands in Oxfordshire will be able to experience the benefit of lightning-fast broadband – supporting households and businesses. What’s more is that young people will also benefit from training to take up roles in this ever-growing sector by acquiring the skills needed.

I was delighted to visit Wychwood Library to see the benefits of new gigabit-enabled broadband and I am delighted that more premises across Oxfordshire will soon be able to reap the rewards too.”

The new fibre isn’t just about serving public sector sites, since the new footprint of rural infrastructure that it creates can also help to incentivise other broadband ISPs and network operators to connect surrounding homes and businesses to faster speeds (usually requires a separate private investment). This seems to have played a role in Gigaclear’s recent FTTP contract win in the county (here).

The original plan was to complete the roll-out by the end of 2023 but, judging by the introduction, it appears as if the programme has since been extended to reach more sites, hence the completion date being moved into 2024 sometime.

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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 X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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