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B4RN and Lancashire Council Resolve Broadband Wayleave Dispute

Tuesday, May 28th, 2019 (2:22 pm) - Score 2,121

A long-running dispute over wayleave agreements between the Lancashire County Council and “full fibre” UK ISP B4RN has finally been resolved, which means that the operator will be able to connect up several rural schools to 1Gbps FTTH broadband and extend their network to nearby premises at the same time.

We first reported on this situation last summer after B4RN, which is a community built and funded Fibre-to-the-Home (FTTH) provider, ran into a problem with the council while trying to extend their network into the communities of Caton and Halton (here).

Normally it would be too expensive for traditional operators to do this sort of work without a public subsidy, although the ISP makes up for that by encouraging local volunteers to help build the network (often in exchange for shares). On top of that they often ask local landowners (e.g. farmers) to waive their right to payment as part of a wayleave agreement (enabling the fibre to be dug through their land).

The ISP had wanted to do the same in the rural village of Caton (Caton-with-Littledale) and sought to build a main fibre optic cabinet on the Caton Community Primary School property. In return the school would gain free access to Gigabit broadband connectivity, which is nothing to sniff at.

However LCC, which may have been wary of setting a precedent for others to follow (as well as the potential for conflicts with existing School ICT contracts), wanted B4RN to pay for the wayleave and any others like it. B4RN refused and negotiations have dragged on for months, until now.

Susie Charles, Vice Chairman of Lancashire County Council, said:

“We are pleased that we have been able to work with B4RN on this important project. We also thank B4RN for their generous offer of giving local schools free access to high quality internet.

The wayleave agreements which have been completed, which allow equipment to be sited on county council owned schools as well as cables to be laid on council owned land, will mean superfast broadband will also be available to hundreds of people who live and work in these communities.

We hope these schemes will now be progressed shortly.”

Related agreements have now been signed (free wayleaves) that will allow B4RN to use a number of schools in the Lune Valley and surrounding area. The schools will in turn benefit from free fibre optic connections.

Schools Set to Benefit
Caton Community Primary School;
St Pauls C of E Primary School, Brookhouse, Lancaster;
St Wilfrid’s School, Halton;
Nether Kellet Community Primary School, near Carnforth;
St John’s Church of England Primary School, Silverdale;
Brabins Endowed School, Chipping;
St Mary’s Roman Catholic Primary School, Chipping

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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.
Leave a Comment
15 Responses
  1. Joe says:

    A year to sort this…(shakes head)

    1. CarlT says:

      Council had to make sure they couldn’t get sued by Openreach et al.

    2. Joe says:

      I appreciate that issue Carl but a year! Obviously it depends if the legal issue was real and needed negotiation or amelioration, or just an abundance of caution; or there was simply a lack of will and drive to sort the issue in a timely fashion.

  2. chris conder says:

    It’s hyperfast Susie.
    Superfast is what the council want people to have from BT FTTC cabinets and phone lines.

    1. Mark Jackson says:

      Better to just call it a “gigabit” or “full fibre” service, rather than get into the flaky superfast, ultrafast, hyperfast, supermegazumbafast malarkey.

    2. TheFacts says:

      @MJ – only ‘gigabit’ if it shows >=1G on a speed test.

    3. Neb says:

      I prefer Hyperfast Susie tbh, or Hyperfast Susie, full of fibre! If we want to meet in the middle.

      Gigabit >= 1Gbps is naff for consumer terminology – I think. Gigbit = 1Gbps connection, to Tom, Dick and Harry that means nothing most of the time anyway. But they get Hyperfast Susie, full of fibre I’m sure 🙂

    4. Mark Jackson says:

      @TheFacts – Pointless since consumer speedtests are pretty useless when it comes to Gigabit services, not least due to the fact that issues such as local network congestion, local hardware limits, poor WiFi speed and so forth tend to ruin them. Lest we forget that on many other full fibre ISPs you have a choice of package speed, while the line itself may be capable of much more.

  3. Mart says:

    or maybe just fttp and vdsl and adsl like its always been to the trade. ‘fibre’ was invented by bt?

    1. CarlT says:

      Nope. Invented by Virgin Media.

    2. wireless pacman says:

      Lol Carl, Virgin Media did not exist when fibre was invented. Actually, neither did BT (as in the name BT).

    3. Gadget says:

      CarlT was referring to the ASA complaint in 2008 which effectively started this whole round of “fibre broadband” https://www.thinkbroadband.com/news/3391-asa-rules-on-virgin-fibre-optic-broadband-claims , not wo invented fibre optic cabling in the first place.

  4. David HOUGHTON says:

    It does give you near 1000 on a speed test, if you use a wired connection and gold cables. On you phone you will probably only get about 200. Come to chipping and try it out.

    1. TheFacts says:

      @DH – gold cables where?

  5. Brin says:

    normal speeds on our system are 940 down, 950 upload 0 to 1 ping
    seen 500 on mobile in village local, depends on phone.
    record reading on speedtest 1024

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