Our modern day of living is relying ever more on our ability to access online content with immediate effect. Networking capability is the backbone to everything we do at Majik house, the ability to stream music, download HD films and communicate between smart home devises relise heavily on networking and broadband speed. Being a rural business in the South Lakes we have struggled for years to find a provider who was able to deliver fault proof hyper fast fibre broadband.
And then we found B4RN.
British telecoms and Members of Parliament have previously stated that rural fibre was a mere pipe dream, the idea was simply implausible and would simply not work! However, now B4RN are finding that wherever they go BT go. Seems the impossible just became possible.
The community makes B4RN work, the project will stop when the community spirit stops, says Barry Forde B4RNs Chief Executive. The projects back bone relise on 100s of volunteers –
“Most of the B4RN network is being built by local volunteers and landowners who know their community and the lie of the land. Each area that rises to the B4RN challenge has found it a wonderfully empowering and socially engaging opportunity. There’s nothing like building something for yourself and having that sense of pride and ownership!”
The knowledge of local people has been paramount to the successful completion of the networking projects. Farmers knowing where to dig and more importantly where not to dig. Landowners making direct routets more accessible (and even people providing cups of tea and biscuits to the volunteers helping to dig the holes) to feed the wires and connect the homes. So far B4RN have been able to pump £5million back into the local community.
Getting superfast blown fibre to rural properties is no easy feat, however with the help of volunteers B4RN have developed a near faultless system to prove no property can go without. B4RN don’t go down the roads like BT, they have the ability to go across county which makes access to rural properties much easier to achieve. BT and similar companies have also got to abide by council regulations, whereas B4RN work with local land owners, who are more willing to oblige to their requirements. The local community realise how essential this service is to the development of the local area, having a major effect on house prices and the success of local businesses.
B4RN are also able to achieve an immediate electricity connection using local properties such as farm buildings and village halls. BT haven’t got this luxury, they install their own electricity supply adding to the expense. This is where we start to see the problem arising. For example, if there are only 20 properties wanting to access fibre from BT in a parish, the cost implications of digging up roads and installing electrical hubs would be too much of an expense. B4RN don’t believe that just because a property is rural and ‘Off the grid’ it should be denied this essential service.
There has yet to be road crossing that has proved too difficult for B4RN. Whether it’s up or under, using directional drills or closing country lanes, this determined community lead group will not be beaten.
- B4RN costs £30 per household per month with an initial £150 connection fee. For small rural businesses rates are up to £150 per calendar month.
- There are 2200 connected homes in the North West with an average 125 new connections being made each month.
- B4RN supply 100GB per cabinet (the parish hub) which has the potential capacity to double if ever needed. B4RN have laid their network frame with the vision that the connectivity can expand well beyond what we are capable of achieving today. To put this into perspective the BT Green cabinets contain 1GB capacity, to feed hundreds of homes. B4RN give 1GB per property.
- B4RN relies on a network of Dark Fibre cabling. For those of us who aren’t as tech savvy as we would like to be, dark fibre is “a privately operated optical fibre network that is run directly by its operator (in our case B4RN) over dark fibre leased or purchased from another supplier, rather than by purchasing bandwidth or leased line capacity.” BT Own all the major fibre networks around the country and charge a phenomenal sum to those wishing to gain access. B4RN have a private line installed from a main hub in Manchester and one in Edinburgh, to provide backup should any interference happen at Manchester. A potentially fault proof system.
- B4RN gives everyone who connects to its fibre broadband the chance to become a shareholder in the company, again strengthening the sense of ownership and community.
BT v B4RN
|Speed – 76mb||Speed – 1000mb|
|Cost – £25 per month||Cost – £30 per month|
|Service – In a recent survey by Which, BT was rated as the 3rd worst customer service provider in the UK.||Service – A next day response for problems on the network with a 4 hour response when a break appears on the line. They have a network of 100s of knowledgeable volunteers|
B4RNs Current Reach:
North – Kirkby Lonsdale surrounding areas.
South – Whitechapel.
West – Silverdale.
East – Keasden
B4RNs Potential Reach:
North – Kendal / Grizdale.
North – Kendal / Grizdale.
South – Goosnargh.
West – Far Arnside.
East – Austwick
To see the interactive map and discover if your area is covered by B4RN please visit http://b4rn.org.uk/b4rn-service/coverage-area/