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B4SW Close to Rolling Out 1Gbps Broadband to South Westmorland

Monday, Aug 1st, 2016 (11:29 am) - Score 605

The Broadband for South Westmorland (B4SW) project, which is a community funded spin-off of the B4RN project, has now raised “enough money to finance the bulk” of their plan to roll-out a 1Gbps FTTP broadband network across a big chunk of South Westmorland in Cumbria.

The project began in 2015 after B4RN confirmed that their ultrafast Fibre-to-the-Premises network would reach a cabinet at J36 Auction Mart, which prompted the New Hutton, Old Hutton & Holmescales and Preston Patrick Parish Councils to join forces and setup B4SW in order to try and extend B4RN’s network.

Under the plan some 500+ premises (homes and businesses) in the area, which represents over 20 square miles of Cumbria (England) and would involve installing about 40 miles of duct for fibre optic cables, could be covered by the new network. Some 272 of those have expressed an interest in taking the service, which typically costs £30 .inc VAT per month and £150 (one-off) to install.

So far B4SW have totted up about £218,050 in loans and investments from residents, with a further £50,000 from a charity and South Lakeland District Council (SLDC). On top of that they’re hoping to get confirmation of another £10,000 grant, although the total project cost is still being finalised (a detailed route survey is already being conducted).

B4SW Progress Update

After visiting over 100 landowners we now have oral agreements for the route, although it has still to be finalised in New Hutton. The steering group would like to express its immense gratitude, and that of residents in the parishes, to the landowners for their generosity and community spirit in allowing the network to cross their land. Without their support our communities would be unable to undertake this self-help project.

The network will extend from an electronics cabinet at the J36 Auction Mart to one at Old Hutton Public Hall and another at New Hutton Institute, the last two being financed largely by SLDC. From J36 there will be a trunk line on each side of the M6, one in the east following roughly the lane from Nook to Barkin House and then the B6254, and one in the west near the lane from Crooklands to Gatebeck, Beckside and Old Hutton.

From there the route goes to Ewebank in the east and to various places in the west of New Hutton parish. Essentially, the route is a figure of 8 with spurs off to Millness, Cow Brow Foot, Sillfield, Low Bendrigg and other places. The figure of 8 is important to provide resilience.

The final survey work will probably take a few more months, which should give B4SW some extra time to raise additional funding. As usual B4RN will then come in and work with local volunteers (some 102 have already said they will definitely help and another 81 have indicated they might do so) in order to build, manage and supply services over the new 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 X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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