Get inspired by the B4RN Story

I have written about B4RN before– they are the farmers in Lancashire England who have built their own fiber network. BBC News reports…

After deciding that they were never likely to get a fast broadband connection from one of the major suppliers, a group of local people across this sparsely populated area decided that sitting around moaning about it was not an option. Instead they began a DIY effort, digging channels across the fields and laying fibre optic cables.

It’s an inspirational stone soup sort of story…

They have exploited all sorts of local expertise – from the Lancaster University professor who is an expert in computer networks to the farmer’s wife who has just retired from a career in IT support. The cooperation of local landowners has been vital – free access to fields has made it much cheaper to roll out the network. BT and other companies which have to dig up the country roads to lay fibre networks reckon it can cost as much as £10,000 to hook up one rural home – the people at B4RN reckon they can bring that down to around £1,000.

Well some of the houses are now hooked up and they’re now starting to market the service…

The hope is that many will sign up to the £30 per month service, but that some will also buy shares in B4RN. Another £1.5m is needed if the full 265KM network is to be rolled out. That sounds ambitious – but having spent 24 hours watching the volunteers digging trenches, blowing fibre and learning a process called fusion splicing I can see they are a very determined bunch.

This entry was posted in Building Broadband Tools, Digital Divide, Rural by Ann Treacy. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ann Treacy

I have a Master’s Degree in Library and Information Science. I have been interested or involved in providing access to information through the Internet since 1994, when I worked for Minnesota’s first Internet service provider. I am pleased to be a part of the Blandin on Broadband Team. I also work with MN Coalition on Government Information, Minnesota Rural Partners, and the American Society for Information Science and Technology.

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