Early March the parish council hosted a Zoom meeting with representatives from Oxfordshire County Council and Airband offering updates on where they are in providing fibre to the premises (FTTP) broadband.
In summary, the plan is not going to be realised unless more residents express interest and even then, it may not be until the end of 2021 or even 2022. It is possible that Airband may provide FTTP to the parish, but it is by no means certain.
Since that meeting, another option appears to have opened up – Openreach – which used to be part of BT and which provides most of the telecoms infrastructure we all use.
Openreach operates a similar process, called the Community Fibre Partnership. But instead of residents directly expressing interest as they did to Airband, with Openreach residents provide their name, address and postcode to one point of contact who heads up the local group. Those names are then uploaded to Openreach. The collective list is analysed by Openreach and a plan sent back to the group lead.
It’s impossible to know if the plan is viable from Openreach’s point of view or what the costs involved will be. But in theory, costs could be met by the government’s broadband voucher scheme.
To be clear, there is no guarantee that this will get us any closer to having FTTP. However, the parish council has learned that fibre is being run by Openreach to the school imminently and importantly, infrastructure is also being installed as part of the process that could connect homes. Now whether that actually leads to connections is another matter, but if nothing else, Openreach will have done a fair chunk of the work.
It should also be pointed out that another benefit of Openreach is that it should be possible for households to choose their internet service provider rather than be tied to Airband (for the first two years).
Note – by supplying your name and address you will only be expressing interesting in an Openreach-run FTTP scheme. There is no commitment at this point in time. But the more interest we have the greater the chance of success.
Below are two downloadable files that explain more.