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Rural UK FTTH ISP B4RN Launches 10Gbps Home Broadband

Wednesday, April 29th, 2020 (10:51 am) - Score 6,876
b4rn ftth broadband summer 2018 rollout

B4RN (Broadband for the Rural North), which is currently working with volunteers to help fund and build a new gigabit capable Fibre-to-the-Home (FTTH) network across rural parts of England, has confirmed that they’re now making a 10Gbps broadband package available to “everyone who wants it.” But you’ll need deep pockets.

The provider, which operates as a community benefit society (i.e. they can’t be bought by a commercial operator and any profits are distributed back into the community), have so far connected thousands of homes and businesses to their new fibre optic cable across rural parts of Lancashire, Cheshire, Cumbria, Essex, Norfolk, Suffolk and Yorkshire.

At present if a consumer in one of their areas wants to take a package then the ISP charges just £30 per month (plus a £150 one-off connection fee) on a 12 month term for an unlimited 1Gbps symmetric speed service, which makes them one of the cheapest providers in the UK (the deployment model is obviously not the same as that of a commercial operator).

Admittedly B4RN’s network has always been capable of delivering 10Gbps (not unlike many other FTTP providers), but until now a package that could be taken by ordinary homes didn’t exist. The reason for this is simple enough because most people wouldn’t even be able to take full advantage of 1Gbps today (e.g. slow WiFi, hardware limits and the various bottlenecks of remote internet services), let alone 10Gbps.

Nevertheless the ISP has confirmed that if a home user wants a symmetric speed 10Gbps connection then they can now take one, but naturally all that performance will attract a hefty price tag of £150 per month. On the other hand such a price is actually pretty impressive given the stated level of performance.

Barry Forde, CEO of B4RN, told ISPreview.co.uk:

“B4RN is now offering a full 10Gbs/10Gbs service to everyone who wants it at a price of £150/month (inc VAT) … What anyone will do with 10Gbs is a good question but I have great faith in the ingenuity of people and am sure they will come up with some novel applications.”

Just to be clear though, this isn’t actually the first consumer 10Gbps service to surface in the UK. Residents moving into the new The Stratford (Manhattan Loft Gardens) building in London have had access to a 10Gbps package for the past year (here), thanks to Telcom off-shoot ISP Black Fibre, but that service is even more expensive at £199 per month (the millionaire residents in those luxury apartments can probably afford it).

One other thing to note is that B4RN’s new package, which doesn’t yet show on their website (we’re told it will be added shortly), attracts a larger one-off connection fee of £360 and that’s partly due to the provider choosing to bundle in ZYXEL’s new high spec AX7501 router with 802.11ax WiFi, which you’d of course need when dealing with 10Gbps connectivity (accurately testing the speed of such a connection is another matter entirely).

Meanwhile B4RN are also supplying the same connection and routers to 21 rural schools across their patch (here). Otherwise B4RN can definitely claim some more bragging rights over this one.

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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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29 Responses
  1. Werner says:

    Really need a B4rn in South East Kent. My 4.3Mb/s is struggling.

  2. dave jones says:

    VERY cool!

    B4RN might want to consider changing their default modem/router to one with a realtek 2.5Gbps ethernet port and 2.5Gbps capable modem chip that would provide enough speed for nearly everyone and wouldn’t add much cost to the modem/router.

    1. Rich says:

      Honestly the way to handle this is with an SFP+ port. Enables the user to choose whatever connection they want far more cheaply than an RJ45 port, although they can still use RJ45 copper if they just don’t like money.

      I’d buy this in a heartbeat had I the option!

  3. ianh says:

    The only thing i can come up with to run off a 10gbps connection is my own server farm.

    Good god that is some speed. Im still dreaming of hitting 100mbps or even 50mbps 🙂

    1. Lee Bateman says:

      How about a TOR exit node?

    2. James Band says:

      10Gbps should be enough to run one branch of Spectre.

  4. dee.jay says:

    £150 a month for 10Gb? Sign me up! Oh wait, not in the Rural North!

    1. Harry says:

      Tell me about it, am paying all most £150 just for 500mb.

    2. James Band says:

      So BT want around £60 for 900Mbps. And this company will do 10Gbps for £150?

  5. André says:

    What technology are they using?
    Even XGPON isn’t capable to these bandwidths, AFAIK. Is this some point to point thing?

    1. André says:

      D’oh! I should have Googled it…

    1. André says:

      Bad case of bandwidth envy here… 😉

    2. David Stamp says:

      Show off…. 🙂

    3. Pete says:

      That’s the biggest dong wave I’ve ever seen! 😛

    4. safc10g says:

      How is this performing for you? Are you just using the Zyxel or do you have other kit involved? Similar setup coming here, but no router/firewall etc sorted yet!

  6. Packet Switched says:

    Shows what is quite possible technically and financially with costs really low – way leave, trenching , ducts in the trenching, connecting to the sockets inside the buildings – and then reliably good take-up. Symetrical, no nonsense about upload being
    10% of download.

    With this this example I would think it difficult to make a case to use for anything other than fibre optic for any housing or
    outlying extensions wether as new or replacement. And if not ftp immediately then at least the duct to draw it in.

  7. CarlT says:

    Congratulations to all involved. While I have 10 Gb fibre, using the same technology, it is unfortunately only from one room to another.

    DDoS seems a potential application, mind. Anyone on B4RN want to click this link?

  8. Wallawalla says:

    Still cheaper than FTTPoD

    1. GNewton says:

      You can’t get FTToD in a reasonable time frame, if at all. And even if you could, it won’t offer sufficient upload speeds. That’s why projects like B4RN are so important because they do it right!

  9. Tim Procter says:

    B4RN stretch your wings to North Yorkshire. I’m in. 🙂

  10. Jonathan says:

    Hum you really need something better than the ZYXEL AX7501 if you have a 10Gbps link. I mean your only client side option is 1GbE connection. Which is kind of pointless IMHO.

    You are going to need something like a Ubiquiti EdgeRouter Infinity which will set you back the best part of two grand. You might be able to do something a bit cheaper with a homebrew pfsense and some 10Gbps ethernet adaptors. Even though it has come down a lot in recent years 10Gbps routing is not cheap and there are no suitable routers for the home.

    1. Rich says:

      UDM-Pro will do it if you turn off IPS and DPI, for about £350.

    2. Meadmodj says:

      As a universal ONT I am impressed. Choosing something like the AX7501 means they retain a simplified support strategy and it will not need to be changed out for a considerable as it exceeds on the CPE side, providing for both wired and latest WIFI (including optional extra Mesh units). Good for both costs and ecology. It costs in as a 1 Gbps ONT but can also cope with higher speeds with most of its functionality switched on. If a particular premise does need 10Gbps they can reduce functionality down and send the full 10Gbps out of the SFP+ via DAC/Optic to appropriate kit. I am assuming anyone needing 10Gbps is going to be doing something serious and therefore will need higher kit (which will be coming down in price overtime).

      This announcement of a cost effective 10Gbps service (inferring technical ease) shows that B4RN are well placed to out smart any alternative for decades to come. This isn’t 2030, or 2025 this is now in 2020!

    3. Meadmodj says:

      Sorry Correction: SFP+ is 10Gbps in , 10Gbps out is RJ45 so Cat7.

  11. Vince says:

    Sounds “impressive” but you can be 100% sure if someone started using 10Gbps constantly 24/7 to remote destinations B4RN would have issues real fast. They know as well as anyone else sane that no household can occupy that sort of bandwidth, and it is a willy-wave as some described it, and not a realistic or meaningfully useful connection speed.

    A significant amount of stuff you’d connect to can’t get anywhere near that speed and certainly not continually, and much of what you might do will hit other limits before then, so realistically this would be very brief bursty peaks and not normal usage territory, so really this is just about bragging and not about realistic expectations.

    Anyone domestically paying 150 for that speed is wasting money, they will have a poor return on cost.

    1. James Band says:

      BT want around £60 for 900Mbps. And this company will do 10Gbps for £150?

    2. Paul E. says:

      Chicken Vs the Egg…If it didn’t exist then definitely no one could use it. It wasn’t that long ago people were saying the same thing about 1Gbps, now content creators wouldn’t be without it.

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