B4RN still digging deep

The first blog posted here was about the resourceful folks at B4RN (Broadband For the Rural North), a community project designed to bring superfast fibre broadband to a rural area in the UK that was severally underserved by connectivity.

A report on Recombu.com Digital has detailed of how it’s faring – and the good news is that it’s doing well, and some residences have been kitted out with equipment and are waiting for the lines to go live.

The £1.86m project is based in rural Lancashire in the UK and is unique in that it’s funded by public subscriptions. As UK incumbents such as BT, has no interest in bringing decent broadband to the areas, a collection of farmers, who helpfully  owned suitable equipment as part of their day job, decided to dig up the ground and lay the fibre themselves.

To quote from Chris Conder, one of the early instigators of the project who commented on that first blog post, “It’s a cooperation between all the disenfranchised people in our parishes who have just got fed up with waiting for someone to do it, so we JFDI.*”

Phase one will create five village notes with a core node of 10Gbps, with 40 routes out connecting up local villages. It expects this stage to be done by the end of 2012, and hopes to add 3,000 properties a year to reach a total of 15,000 properties by 2019.

A 1Gbs symmetrical connection will cost £30 a month with a £150 connection fee. Shares starts at £100, and there’s tax relief for those that invest. Those that put in £1,500 get a free connection and one year’s free subscription to the service.

It’s almost enough to make me want to move up to Lancashire! Almost. We’ll check again in a few months again to see how the project is going.

* Look that one up yourselves…

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