Hundreds of businesses and homes across Oxfordshire are set to benefit from faster internet connections, following the launch of the UK Government’s nationwide Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme (GBVS).
The £67m investment is in addition to the £200m allocated to the Local Full Fibre Networks (LFFN) programme, and will provide future-proof full fibre connections for businesses and the residential communities around them. It follows a successful pilot scheme launched in four areas around the country late last year, which has already seen nearly 1,000 vouchers used up to date.
Craig Bower, Oxfordshire County Council’s Programme Director, said: “We are committed to enhancing the quality of life in our communities. This funding provides a great opportunity for small businesses in Oxfordshire to fully future-proof their digital connectivity requirements. Online presence, cloud-based business applications, marketing channels and business resilience can all be improved with a full-fibre connection.”
ThinkBroadband statistics show that 8% of homes and businesses in Oxfordshire already have a full fibre internet connection. Superfast broadband reaches almost 97% of premises, and even-quicker ultrafast broadband covers 51.3% of the county.
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport, The Rt Hon Jeremy Wright MP, said: “Small businesses are the backbone of the British economy and now businesses and neighbouring homes in Oxfordshire can turbo-charge their connectivity with gigabit speeds. By building a full fibre future for Britain, we are laying the foundations for a digital infrastructure capable of delivering today what the next generation will need tomorrow.”
The vouchers, worth up to £3,000 for a SME and £500 for a resident, provide a one-off contribution to subsidise the installation cost of gigabit-capable infrastructure. In addition to providing a boost to the 95% of the UK that can already get superfast speeds (24Mbps or faster), the vouchers could also help those not yet able to do so, helping to narrow the diminishing digital divide even further.
Full fibre connections are faster, more reliable and cheaper to operate than traditional copper lines, and are capable of supporting not only gigabit, but terabit and even petabit speeds, which will serve the UK far into the future. Currently only around 3% of UK premises have access to a full fibre connection.
The scheme forms part of Government’s commitment to make full fibre broadband available to at least 10 million homes and businesses by 2022.