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B4RN Expected to Win the UK Battle over Broadband Street Cabinet Size

Tuesday, Sep 17th, 2013 (2:06 pm) - Score 3,226

Complaints about the size of BT’s big, green and FTTC supporting street cabinets are nothing new but if you’re one of those people who gets worked up about such things then look away now because B4RN’s fibre optic (FTTH) cabinet in rural Lancashire (England) is a veritable monster of a thing.

Admittedly one of the reasons why BT’s cabinets, some of which are 1.6 metres (5.2 feet) tall, have attracted so many complaints is because they’ve predominantly been installed in urban areas. As a result they stand a far greater chance of blocking somebodies view or causing an obstruction on the pavement. Never mind the useful broadband benefits that so often get overlooked.

By comparison B4RN’s cabinet might be a monster, one that a person from Tokyo would probably consider big enough to live inside of, but it can also be placed out in the grand wide open space of the countryside where few would ever think to remark upon its scale. Indeed they’re probably just happy to have a 1000Mbps capable Internet connection, much as we would be too. Cabinet envy!

b4rn's massive fibre optic cabinet in Wray

The above cabinet is a huge 3-bay design, although B4RN does use a smaller 2-bay in some areas, and the operator informed ISPreview.co.uk that the reason they’re so big is apparently down to the network architecture. It’s a Point to Point network where, “each property has a dedicated fibre and with this each needs a switch port. Two in fact as there’s two fibres to each property” (i.e. bit like an office LAN but on the outside).

Speaking on a more serious note, B4RN’s work to lay new fibre optic cable along the Quernmore route and towards Littledale and Roeburndale appears to be progressing well. The operator’s latest update notes that there aren’t many homes on this route but they say, “all are important“, and indeed many of the premises can’t get a stable fixed line broadband service from BT (i.e. Satellite would be their only other option).

B4RN hopes to complete this big section of the core network route before the Winter sets in and the village of Wray, which is home to around 500-600 people, is now well within sight and just so happens to also be a potentially very big customer base (for a smaller ISP). In fact the cabinet pictured above is intended for Wray.

B4RNs Latest Rollout Update

The cabinet has been delivered to Wray and looks very smart. Thank you to the chapel for agreeing to host it on their land, it will provide connectivity to all the farmers and they can livestream the services to the elderly who can’t always get to chapel in winter. The people in Wray are busy digging the ducting into their properties ready for when the main route joins them from Roeburndale.”

Meanwhile more connections have recently gone live in Abbeystead and the people of Keerside will follow later this week. Similar progress is also taking place in Dolphinholme. It’s interesting to note that BT had promised FTTP for Dolphinholme, seemingly only after they learnt that B4RN was coming, but so far that hasn’t happened.

Otherwise the only real problem for B4RN has been Network Rail’s continued refusal to let them lay their fibre optic cable over one of the local bridges (here), which means they’ll have to conduct an expensive operation to dig underneath a river.

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By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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