This huge milestone for the county has been delivered by Gigaclear, the leading rural broadband provider, in partnership with the West Oxfordshire District Council and Building Digital UK (BDUK).

The properties, which are in some of the most remote areas of West Oxfordshire and suffered internet speeds as slow as 1Mbps, now have access to Gigaclear’s ultrafast full-fibre internet, providing speeds of up to 1Gbps – as fast as the internet in Silicon Valley.

Cllr Merilyn Davies, West Oxfordshire Cabinet Member for Communities and Housing, comments: “Fast broadband speeds are a necessity in a modern economy, especially with so many residents working from home during the pandemic so this is great news.

“The way we live and work now depends on the internet and, like any utility, it should be available wherever we choose to live.”

Celina Joiner, Programme Manager at Gigaclear, comments: “This is a fantastic achievement for us as a business, connecting those communities who need our service the most. In order to build our network, we’ve dug over 550,000 metres of trenching which equates to 342 miles – that’s the same as driving from Oxford to Paris – so no mean feat.

“COVID-19 has really underlined the importance of reliable broadband to live and work effectively from home and we’re proud to bring it to the most underserved areas of the UK, where other providers simply aren’t willing to go to.”   

West Oxfordshire has been historically underserved by broadband providers due to the complexities of undertaking such a large infrastructure project in a rural environment. Gigaclear and its contractors have had to work with heavy duty equipment, all while carefully navigating small roads, rivers, and rail crossings. 

This is evident at Blenheim Palace, where Gigaclear has built more than 70 connections, meaning residential properties on the Blenheim Estate, as well as local farms, will benefit from this work.

Roger File, Property Director at Blenheim Palace, comments: “It has been a delight to work with Gigaclear. We value the importance of digital inclusion for all and are fully behind Gigaclear’s mission to provide world-leading internet speeds to rural areas left behind by other service providers. It’s a serious undertaking to dig metres and metres of trench but we’ve worked with Gigaclear to get this done with as little fuss as possible. It’s no exaggeration to say that the infrastructure will be transformative for people living in the Blenheim Estate.”

Celina adds: “We try to make sure we that once we complete a project we leave the area looking the same, if not better, than when we arrived. This is exactly what we’ve done in West Oxfordshire, navigating Blenheim Palace and many beautiful villages with great care.

“Our work in West Oxfordshire with the District Council and BDUK will be completed by early next year, however we will be continuing to build our own network in the region, serving the most isolated and rural communities in West Oxfordshire.”

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