HEREThe purpose of the project is to take a new approach to the ownership, financial and deployment models used traditionally, and still proposed by, telecommunications companies. These models invariably leave rural areas outside of the scope of economic viability for the telecoms companies, and have helped to create the Digital Divide between rural and urban Britain.
The aim is to build a community-owned gigabit Fibre To The Home (FTTH) network in the scarcely populated, deeply rural uplands of Lancashire in the north west of England in three phases (see maps on the right), utilising the skills, time, energy and ingenuity of the local residents and businesses. If you are just over the edges of the marked areas we may still be able to help you, drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
There are already quite a few properties included in the design just outside the mapping area.
This project will be backed with a share issue for a not for profit company registered with the Financial Services Authority under the Industrial and Provident Societies Act 1965 using the community benefit option.
Originally, the £750,000 funding for the first iteration of this project (to connect 320 businesses in the chosen area of the Lune Valley) was sought from RDPE funds. However, this funding has now been absorbed into a region-wide bid for next generation broadband for the whole county of Lancashire.
Disappointed, but undeterred, the experts behind this plan have decided to continue to develop the model further and seek the funding through share issue, subscriptions to the service, and any necessary gap funding. There is a firm belief in the business plan's projections, which show that a world class, Gigabit, future-proofed, reliable, communications network to every property, no exceptions, can be profitable in deeply rural areas if approached in a non-traditional and less expensive manner. And so B4RN was born.....
A detailed design and business plan shows that the first phase, including the core network which will also serve Phases 2 and 3, will cost £1.86million. This includes the costs associated with:
buy shares, subscribe to the service, volunteer your time and skills, offer access to your land, attend the meetings, and help to spread the word with our fliers, posters and stickers.
The time for this project is now! The reality is that expressions of interest must be submitted to the project by October, so that a decision can be made whether there is sufficient interest and support to proceed. There would be no purpose in the voluntary team who have been involved in this for over one year already to continue otherwise.
All the projections have taken into account every eventuality possible, e.g. unexpected delays such as severe winters like the last; however, this project is a first for the UK, and until the green light is given, accurate forecasts for the full rollout plan, including connection dates for specific properties, are simply not possible.
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B4RN needs you to help spread the word. Marketing materials to help you to promote the project, and to see what has been done so far are available for everyone, whether in Phase 1, 2 or 3, or even further afield who wish to support this innovative project. The more people hear about this project and become involved, the sooner it can happen for all of us.
B4RN has the potential to be the solution for the Final Third of the UK who are left in the broadband slow lane. Let's show others how it can be done!