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ISP Broadband for Rural Kent Goes Live with New FTTP Network

Wednesday, June 16th, 2021 (8:53 am) - Score 1,560
B4RK_Kent_Build

Residents in the Kent UK village of Oversland will be pleased to learn that the new Broadband for Rural Kent (B4RK) project, which initially modelled itself on B4RN’s community centric build strategy, has finally begun to go live by connecting their first house to a new gigabit-capable Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) network.

The new network is the brainchild of Director Tim Higgs, who until recently ran a tiny Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) network that was used to serve family members and 38 other neighbours in part of rural Kent. The original network was established after Openreach quoted his community just shy of £230,000 to deploy FTTP into the area, which was understandably deemed to be economically unviable by residents.

NOTE: Some of the early backhaul capacity for their network will come from Openreach and Neos Networks.

However, toward the end of last year we reported that Tim had decided to build his own fibre network (here), which could be part-funded by the community, while additional investment would later come from the UK Government’s gigabit voucher scheme. Work on the new network began shortly thereafter, although the community funding idea is not currently being pursued (at present it’s a mix of vouchers and private investment).

The first location on this new network to start going live is the remote rural hamlet of Oversland, which sits between the parish of Boughton-under-Blean and Selling (i.e. B4RK’s initial build area). The new network is somewhat of a Proof of Concept (PoC), although B4RK has already expressed an ambition to “reach 5,000 rural premises in the next 18-24 months and 30,000+ rural premises by 2026.

First FTTP Speedtest on B4RK’s New Network

B4RK_Speedtest

But for now, the provider is primarily focused upon converting customers on their existing FWA network to FTTP, and then extending that fibre during the summer and early autumn (Phase 1) to cover 100 homes. After that the plan is to ramp-up the build toward covering c.2,000 homes and then on toward grander ambitions. Going forwards, B4RK also intends to harness some of Openreach’s existing cable ducts to run a bit of fibre (PIA).

Customers can expect to pay around £30 inc. VAT per month for a 100Mbps (30Mbps upload) package on a 12-month term with an included router, which rises to £40 for 300Mbps (100Mbps upload) and then £50 for the top 900Mbps (300Mbps upload) tier. Faster business packages with symmetric speeds are also expected at extra cost – starting at 900Mbps for £80 +vat, which could go as high as 10Gbps using XGSPON technology.

It’s been a hell of a journey! But I’ve got there in the end,” said Tim to ISPreview.co.uk this morning. We look forward to seeing how they grow over the next few years.

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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
8 Responses
  1. Gavin @ Briant Broadband says:

    Congratulations Tim,

    Been watching from afar on FB from Sunny Worthing in Sussex, great to see you going live, we hope to emulate come August/September with our own FTTP to a hamlet north of our town.

    1. Tim Higgs says:

      Hi Gavin

      Thank you! Would be good to hear more about what you’re planning, if there is anything I can help with feel free to give me a call or e-mail me. Contact details can be found on my website.

  2. w says:

    Congratulations Tim!

    That is good news and I hope to see the B4rk network growing.

    1. Tim Higgs says:

      Thank you! Hopefully B4RK will be growing faster than I ever imagined before too long.

  3. Matt says:

    Nice to keep updates on everywhere it is to make me feel worse lol

  4. anonymous says:

    Well done for shaking the incumbent tree 🙂

    Please make your way down to Temple Ewell/Kearsney/River/Lydden/Dover areas down the road as vast swathes on Virgin Media who would love to leave them but no other choice. No other FTTP choice.

  5. A_Builder says:

    Always good to see people applying elbow great to the problem!

    Good luck with your rollout.

  6. chris conder says:

    Altnets rock. Well done Tim, and good luck from all your friends at #teamB4RN xxx

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