Published: 12th Jan 2015
A campaign has been launched in Oxfordshire to ensure that some of the county's most rural areas don't miss out on super-fast broadband.
Connect 8 wants to make sure that residents and businesses from Howe Hill, Britwell Hill, Cookley Green, Greenfield, Park Corner, Pishill with Stonor, Russells Water and Swyncombe are included in the rollout of speedy internet, the Henley Standard reports.
Launched in 2013, the £25 million Better Broadband for Oxfordshire project aims to give homes and businesses in the county access to speeds of at least 24 Mbps by the end of 2015. The scheme is a partnership between Oxfordshire County Council, BT and the government’s Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK).
BDUK has pledged to get 95 per cent of Britain's population connected to super-fast broadband by the end of 2017, meaning five per cent will miss out. Connect 8 represents areas of Oxfordshire that would fall into this five per cent and wouldn't get a better connection.
Peter Richardson, a member of the campaign group, told the Henley Standard: "The problem is the cost of infrastructure compared with the return. What we’re trying to do is persuade BT that it would be worthwhile spending money in this area. About 50 per cent of people in the area work from home - virtually everybody would sign up.”
At the moment, residents of the eight areas Connect 8 is concerned with are having to put up with inconsistent connectivity, with some only able to access speeds of 1 Mbps, according to Mr Richardson.
He said there have been incidents where older residents were unable to do their online shopping or access NHS services, while people working from home have been stopped from communicating with the outside world because of a poor broadband service.
"We have got young people moving away from the area because they feel it hasn’t got everything they need in today’s world and property values are affected by whether you have got broadband or not," he continued.
Residents of rural areas could look to alternatives, such as satellite broadband, if they will be missed in the rollout. Avonline offers customers a guarantee that if fibre optic is rolled out and a customer can't be transferred to the company's own fibre optic service, they can cancel free of charge.
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