Northmoor, Moreton and Bablockhythe discovered that their 500 or so properties were unlikely to gain any broadband upgrade from the Superfast Oxfordshire program because of the very rural nature of the neighbourhood and so the community decided to take action for themselves.
Led by Parish Council Chairman, Graham Shelton, a Community Broadband Group was formed. With the help of West Oxfordshire District Council, the Broadband Group obtained EU grant funding under the Government’s Rural Communities Broadband Fund and undertook a professional procurement exercise. Gigaclear won the procurement and has match funded the project.
Gigaclear has installed across the parish a next generation Ultrafast broadband network by installing a fibre optic cable to each home or business premises. Fibre-to- the-Premises (FTTP) is one of the most advanced broadband services available and has the ability to carry much higher data rates than currently needed. With fibre optic cables running all the way into the buildings, FTTP does not suffer from the variations in broadband speed that are associated with Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC) and everyone gets the same level of service. With FTTC, fibre cables are installed to street cabinets and then traditional copper cables are used from these cabinets into the buildings with broadband speeds being dependent on the length of the copper cable. With Gigaclear’s FTTP service, everyone in the community can receive the service they have signed up for and the community itself is future-proofed for many years.
Following 2 months of construction works, Friday 15th August was a thrilling day for local residents and the Community Broadband Group as they witnessed the Rt Hon David Cameron, Prime Minister and MP for Witney, switching on the network and connecting with Malcolm Corbett, Chief Executive of the Independent Networks Co-operative Association, using a video telephone call via a large screen Smart Television connected to the Gigaclear service.
Mr Cameron said, “It was great to see the launch of superfast broadband in Northmoor. This is a great advertisement of how a small community can come together with the help of the Government’s Rural Community Broadband Fund to get some of the fastest broadband in the country brought directly to their homes. A huge congratulations to all involved and I would encourage everyone to take up this opportunity.”
Speaking on behalf of the parish, Graham Shelton said, “The delivery of ultrafast Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) broadband across our community catapults us straight into the 21st Century. It is a pleasure to acknowledge the unfailing support of West Oxfordshire District Council to make the DEFRA grant process a success and have this broadband service transform our community. We also want to thank the Prime Minister for supporting us today on what is a truly momentous occasion for all of us here.”
Matthew Hare, Chief Executive of Gigaclear said, “As an Oxfordshire-based company we’re proud to be offering ultrafast Gigabit broadband right on our doorstep. Gigaclear aims to serve those rural communities who aren’t prepared to be left behind. We’re stepping up our efforts to connect rural communities across England, transforming their communications into the fastest and best in the world. In our minds every home, business and community should have the same level of service regardless of location.”
Northmoor resident, James Harrison describes how the impact of superfast broadband will transform his working life: “The ultrafast pure fibre service will make a huge difference to me – I sometimes work from home but often have to go back into the office in London to send or receive the large media files I work with. With my new gigabit connection I’ll be able to get so much more work done with less commuting and frustration.”
James added: “We won’t be worrying about speeds for decades to come, and the fact that everyone in the entire parish can enjoy exactly the same speeds regardless of distance from the cabinet is something I’m very proud of. This is how internet access infrastructure should be done!”
The Northmoor Community Project obtained approval for £186,000 of funding under the Government’s Rural Community Broadband Fund, which is jointly funded by Defra (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) and BDUK (Broadband Delivery UK).