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B4RN Beat BT to Connect First Premises to 1Gbps Broadband in Dolphinholme

Wednesday, May 7th, 2014 (9:30 am) - Score 1,104

The predominantly community funded and built B4RN (Broadband 4 Rural North) network, which is deploying a 1000Mbps capable “hyperspeed” Fibre-to-the-Home (FTTH/P) broadband platform in parts of rural Lancashire (England, UK), has beaten BT’s rival 330Mbps FTTP deployment in Dolphinholme by being the first to connect the Village Hall and several houses to its service.

Readers might recall that the village of Dolphinholme has made it into our news a few times over the past year and it hit the headlines again in January 2014 after BT confirmed that they were “currently planning to roll out FTTP to Dolphinholme as part of our partnership with Lancashire County Council to extend fibre to 97 per cent of premises by the end of 2015 using a mix of fibre technologies.” The reason for the controversy is because the village has also been on B4RN’s roll-out plan since 2011 and thus many felt that BT’s deployment would be anti-competitive, especially if it formed part of the local state-aid supported BDUK project (here).

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At the time B4RN, being a community focused scheme with only a very limited ability to challenge BT’s plans through legal means, decided that its best form of defence would be to attack by building their network before BT could get its own fibre optic infrastructure into local homes. Indeed the operator’s community focus gave it a distinct advantage because locals, many of whom have helped to build B4RN’s network in return for shares, often feel both emotionally and financially incentivised to pick B4RN instead of BT.

Since then BT’s activity in Dolphinholme seems to have been slowed or scaled back, while B4RN’s deployment has continued at full speed and the good news via Br0kenTeleph0n3 today is that the latter has now begun to connect the first local premises.

B4RNs Statement on Dolphinholme Progress

I am delighted to tell you all that Dolphinholme now has hyperspeed broadband! Thanks to the ‘fusing team’ the Village Hall and the first few houses came online today. A fantastic effort by everyone concerned, those who planned, those to dug and those who did the ‘technical stuff’. A real community effort by everyone involved. Particular thanks to those who have given us access over their land, those who have invested time and money and those who have supported this is so many ways.

Of course there is still a huge amount to do and at the Fleece meeting this evening the DB4RNAG dedicated ourselves to completing this project, which means bringing the service to all those in Dolphinholme who want it. This will of course take time, but in the meantime having the Village Hall live means that there is a facility for anyone in the Village who needs to use it.”

It’s understood that more houses are due to be connected over the next few days. Meanwhile B4RN is continuing its wider deployment across the region and has also been busy connecting homes in the larger village of Wray (home to around 500-600 people). However it would be interesting to see BT complete its own deployment because we very rarely get to see areas with two competing fibre optic providers, especially on such a David and Goliath scale as this. So far David seems to be winning.

Mark-Jackson
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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