OXFORDSHIRE communities are being left behind in an ‘urban-rural digital divide’ as Ofcom figures reveal nearly half of hamlets are still stuck with sluggish connections.

The latest figures from the telecoms watchdog show that only 50.7 per cent of postcodes in ‘rural hamlets and isolated dwellings’ could expect superfast broadband availability, rising to 81.7 per cent in ‘rural villages’.

Superfast broadband, also known as fibre optic, is defined as any broadband with download speeds in excess of 24 Megabytes per second (Mbps), speeds which allows the streaming of high definition video.

The CLA, which represents farmers, landowners and rural businesses across Oxfordshire, campaigns for faster and reliable broadband speeds in rural areas.


The top ten fastest postcodes for internet speed

1 - OX4 3HS, Cowley

2 - OX10 9FW, Wallingford

3 - OX4 3HJ, Cowley

4 - OX10 8HS, Wallingford

5 - OX10 9FT, Wallingford

6 - OX10 9FX, Wallingford

7 - OX14 1DY, Abingdon Fitzharris

8 - OX10 7EH, Benson & Crowmarsh

9 - OX13 5QL, Thames

10 - OX20 1EQ, Stonesfield and Tackley


1 - OX18 4JX, Alvescot and Filkins

2 - OX20 1BP, Stonesfield and Tackley

3 - OX7 5TJ, Kingham, Rollright and Enstone

4 - OX7 7EL, The Bartons

5 - OX13 5JU, Thames

6 - OX3 9TW, Forest Hill & Holton

7 - OX7 5TR, Kingham, Rollright and Enstone

8 - OX20 1BS, Stonesfield and Tackley

9 - OX7 7AP, The Bartons

10 - OX7 7AR, The Bartons

Regional director Robin Edwards said: “Last year Ofcom said 95 per cent of UK premises had access to superfast broadband based on the government’s definition of 24 Mbps, a figure which is expected to rise to 97 per cent by 2020. But sadly that is not the case for many rural communities being left behind in an urban-rural digital divide. Having superfast broadband should not be a luxury; it is an essential tool for so many rural businesses and communities in Oxfordshire to operate successfully.”

A report last week by broadbandchoices.co.uk confirmed that many counties are missing the 95 per cent target, although Oxfordshire sits eighth in the country for average download speeds at 46.3Mbps.

Mark Pocock, home communications expert, said: “Whilst the research gives a broad stroke picture of the UK, a lot of consumers are still in the dark when it comes to the actual service and speed they will personally receive until after they have signed up for a deal. We analysed almost 400 UK council websites and Ofcom performance statistics, and there was evidence that many councils have missed their own targets and deadlines for improving broadband connectivity in their areas.”

Openreach, the division of BT responsible for broadband infrastructure, said Oxfordshire already has ‘very high’ superfast coverage but there are plans to improve it further.

“This comprises the Better Broadband for Oxfordshire programme - a partnership between Oxfordshire County Council, Openreach and the Government’s Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) initiative; any other public sector intervention programmes; and coverage from commercial providers including Openreach,” a spokesperson said.

“Openreach also offers a Community Fibre Partnership scheme where we will work with any community that hasn’t been included in any existing plan to develop and build a co-funded fibre network, bringing together funding from local authorities, Government voucher schemes and other grants where possible.”

Check what’s available in your area at: https://www.ofcom.org.uk