Long way to go for Oxon to meet UK broadband target

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Oxfordshire seems unlikely to meet the Government’s 2015 deadline for universal broadband after only one per cent of businesses taking part in a consultation said they had superfast download speeds of 25Mbps or better.

Like much of the UK, the county may struggle to reach the target of 90 per cent coverage for superfast broadband speeds by 2015.

At present, 46 per cent of Oxfordshire’s business respondents are falling below the Government’s minimum 2015 target of at least 2Mbps download.

Results of the consultation were made public at the end of January.

But the situation could change with a £13.86 million package of investment from local and central government.

Around £10 million is coming from Oxfordshire County Council, and £3.86 million from the Government’s Broadband Delivery UK initiative.

The county council said it is also seeking contributions from the private sector.

Negotiations with potential broadband infrastructure providers are now being held, and the county council said it expects to announce its plans this spring.

Infrastructure improvements are expected to be delivered by the successful bidder from this year onwards, with work focusing on areas with the worst connection speeds.

Once the infrastructure is in place, customers will still be able to buy broadband from the usual range of internet service providers.

Oxfordshire County Council says its role will be to coordinate investment, lead the procurement process, guide partner organisations, and keep local communities informed.

The council will not own the broadband infrastructure at the end of the process.