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B4RN Celebrates UK Project HALO Network Upgrade with Video

Tuesday, Feb 6th, 2024 (12:01 am) - Score 1,240

Community broadband ISP B4RN, which typically works with volunteers inside rural villages to deploy their new 10Gbps full fibre (FTTP) network across parts of England, has today celebrated the effective completion of their resilient 400Gbps ring network across the North of England by uploading a new video of their work.

Firstly, the usual recap. B4RN is a registered Community Benefit Society (i.e. they can’t be bought by a commercial operator and profits go back into the community) that has already expanded their Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) network to cover 25,000 premises (plus over 13,000 customers) across various rural parts of Lancashire, Cheshire, Cumbria, Northumberland, Essex, Norfolk, Suffolk and Yorkshire.

NOTE: B4RN’s customers pay from £33 a month for their 1Gbps package (plus a £60 setup fee payable over 12-months) or £150 for 10Gbps (£360 setup). A 1Gbps £15 social tariff also exists.

Last year also saw the network operator begin the process of upgrading their core network to 400G (here) in order to make it future-proof through to 2030 (Project HALO). The project aims to support 400G in the rural core network with new Dark Fibre extending about 650km, creating a sort of ring around the North of England between Manchester, Newcastle and Leeds (here).

The new core network, which has just gone live, is being assisted by their partnership with technology firms Kubus and Juniper Networks (e.g. they’re using Juniper’s MX304 Universal Router).

Tom Rigg, COO of B4RN, said:

“By connecting the backbone in a ring formation, so that every core device has a North/South (or East/West) path back to the main datacentres, including the datacentres themselves, we will gain a greater level of resilience and redundancy. This will allow hard down circuit events to happen, to get repaired and resolved, with next to zero customer impact. It will also allow for maintenance, repair and upgrades to happen on any network segment without loss of service to our customers.

We can also then onboard B2B customers who wish to take advantage of the high capacity, highly available and low latency core with confidence that their service has a level of physical resilience for service loss protection.”

In recognition of this achievement, the partnership has produced a short film, which is not just about the delivery of the HALO project, but also capturing the heart of B4RN, how they build, the volunteers and the wider B4RN community.

Admittedly, the video spends a bit too much time on being self-promotional and not enough on actually showing the build or core upgrade, but there’s enough of both to make it reasonably interesting. On the other hand, we would have preferred to see a walk-around style video of their network and new sites, but that’s just us.

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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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