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B4RN Connects 600 Homes to 1Gbps FTTH Broadband in Lancashire UK

Monday, October 6th, 2014 (11:33 am) - Score 1,365

The B4RN (Broadband for the Rural North) project has managed to connect 600 premises in rural Lancashire (England) to its new 1000Mbps (1 Gigabit per second) capable community built and funded Fibre-to-the-Home (FTTH/P) network, with customers typically paying £30 per month for the service. But Cumbria and Yorkshire could soon see some B4RN action too.

The service, which is already available in Arkholme, Abbeystead, Aughton, Capernwray, Dolphinholme, Gressingham, Newton, Docker, Littledale, Quernmore, Roeburndale, Wray, Wennington and Tatham, is now working towards connecting premises in Melling, Whittington and Wrayton. B4RN also has eyes on Low Bentham, Halton, Hornby, Farleton and Claughton, which means they’ll be pushing into the edges of Cumbria and Yorkshire.

According to Recombu, another 40 or so premises are already lined up to go live (total of 640), provided some issues with access can be resolved.

B4RNs Christine Conder said:

There are around 40 new customers awaiting connection. They are waiting because we await permission from the county council for road crossings.”

Generally speaking the take-up for B4RN’s service remains high, fuelled as it is by strong community involvement and investment, with earlier figures stating that it costs approximately £1,000 per property to deploy the service (£750k was raised to fund this – between 2011 and 2012 – as part of the first share offer) and this is balanced against an average take-up of over 50%; some areas within its coverage are even said to have hit more than 80%.

Admittedly it’s taken B4RN a little longer than they perhaps initially expected to reach this point, yet the results appear to be good and as B4RN move to complete their initial deployment phases then the focus will increasingly shift towards future expansion and support. Crucially the project now claims to be earning enough money that they can start to think about investing in new developments.

Apparently two tentative plans for the future involve securing Code Powers from Ofcom (i.e. quicker approval for street works around the UK) and hiring some full time staff, instead of using volunteers for the bulk of technical support, maintenance and construction related tasks as they do today. But for the time being their focus will remain on building out the core network.

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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 Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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