Government says thousands of rural properties will have major broadband upgrade

The government has announced that thousands of people across rural parts of Oxfordshire and North East Staffordshire are set to benefit from new lightning-fast broadband.

Around 10,000 homes and businesses in rural Oxfordshire communities including Stoke Row, Somerton and North Aston will be given access to fast and reliable broadband connections following a £26.5 million investment.  Meanwhile, around 6,000 rural properties in North East Staffordshire including Longnor, Marchington and Alstonefield will also benefit from a £16.5 million investment.

The upgrade means they will have gigabit-capable broadband with receives internet speeds more than 30 times faster than superfast broadband.

The investment forms part of the government’s £5 billion Project Gigabit, which aims to ensure people have the same access to high-speed broadband wherever they live, work and study.  It is also part of a £43 million government fund which it says “will spur the rollout of next generation connectivity to thousands of businesses and local residents, with spades in the ground by Spring.”

Oxfordshire County Council Leader, Councillor Liz Leffman said:

“We are delighted that local firm Gigaclear has been awarded the Project Gigabit contract for delivery of full fibre broadband to thousands of Oxfordshire homes and businesses.

This public sector investment in digital infrastructure is critical to levelling up areas where commercial funding alone is insufficient to secure the money necessary to make this build happen.

The project aligns very well with all the work the council’s digital infrastructure programme is doing such as the GigaHubs project which has secured a full fibre connection to Wychwood library”.

Staffordshire County Council’s cabinet member for environment, infrastructure and climate change Simon Tagg said:

“Access to gigabit capable broadband speeds is essential to our communities and businesses and so it’s excellent to see this reach extended by Connect Fibre through Project Gigabit.

Faster broadband improves everyone’s day-to-day living, enabling people to access health, education, banking and leisure services and more. It is also critical for business operations, growth and increased productivity. Our Superfast Staffordshire programme was a huge success and made a real difference over the last decade - now gigabit capable connection is the next step.”

However, RSN Chief Executive Kerry Booth warns it is more than just installing the cables:

“As raised by the APPG for Digital Communications, the roll out of Project Gigabit must be more than just laying the new fibre cables. Communities, especially in rural areas, need to know that the work has been carried out and the new service available to them.” 

“Oxfordshire and Staffordshire County Councils are helping their residents by raising awareness of the new service at a local level and I hope other local authorities will also adopt this approach.”


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