Oxfordshire villages lead race for super-fast broadband

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Fibre-optic cable, Eyewire
Image caption,
The winning exchanges will see the new service installed by early 2012, BT said

A group of villages in Oxfordshire are leading a race to get high-speed fibre-based broadband.

BT's Race to Infinity will see the most popular five exchanges added to its roll-out.

Blewbury, Aston Tirrold, Aston Upthorpe, West Hagbourne and Upton have attracted just over 1,000 votes.

It means 84% of the area's population have voted putting it ahead of Caxton in Cambridgeshire (83.5%) with Castleton in Newport third (70%).

Madingley in Cambridgeshire and Whitchurch in Hampshire currently hold the other two spots.

The telecoms firm said the results would also help influence its future plans on where it deploys the technology. The race runs until the end of the year.

Alan Cooper, chairman of Blewbury Parish Council, said: "We have normal broadband at the moment but it varies from reasonable to terrible.

"It is not all that long ago that the village didn't even have broadband at all, but we won that fight to get it installed and we are mobilising people this time to get out and vote for an even better service.

"For an area, which only has about 1,200 telephone lines, to already achieve more than 1,000 votes from households shows the nature of the villages.

"We know we are doing well to be in the top five but we would love to win for the kudos."

For exchanges to qualify they must first achieve a minimum of 1,000 votes.

BT said the winning exchanges would have the new service up and running by early 2012.

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