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Home is where the B4RN is
The latest news from B4RN
January 11th
Newsletter click for pdf version

B4RN is, literally, a ground-breaking project, of interest to many across the country and beyond, as was shown by the packed audience at the launch at The Storey Institute, Lancaster last month,

To ensure that B4RN can begin in early 2012, we need as many people as possible/everyone to BUY SHARES and/or take a service from B4RN. The B4RN Management Team (all local people) are delighted with the response to the share issue and the Early Bird Leap Year offer since the launch in mid-December.


Congratulations to all those who have already bought shares; your Welcome Pack and Share Certificates are being prepared and will be with you shortly.


However, in order to reach our trigger target for shares and commence digging (i.e. laying fibre in the ground) as soon as possible, weather permitting, we would like to encourage everyone who can to take full advantage of the Early Bird offer which ends on 29th February. This gives you an extra 3 months free connection (on top of the normal 12 months) when you invest £1500, and of course the earlier you invest the sooner the 3 year minimum holding time finishes and you can apply to withdraw your investment.


Every £100 invested NOW will help this project to proceed more quickly to the benefit of all in this rural area. Please see below for more details on how to invest.


Route Mapping

The next stage of the project is to map the route of the fibre cables, this involves checking with local residents and farmers to make sure we have permission to cross their land, and to confirm whether the route we have indicated on the maps is the best one.

The proposed routes for the first phase of the network covering Over Wyresdale, Quernmore, Tatham, Littledale, Roeburndale, Wray, Wennington, Melling, Wrayton and Arkholme are online. We have also starting mapping some of the phase 2 areas and Gressingham, Tunstall, Newton, Whittington, Ireby, Cantsfield, Leck, and Burrow are also online. Please send an email to info@b4rn.org.uk with the name(s) of the Parish maps and your full contact details for a link to the relevant route maps. We are now recruiting people in each area to help with this stage of the project. If you are interested in helping with this exciting phase, we are holding two workshops in January to discuss what is required. Everyone is welcome to attend.

Wray Institute 24th January, 7.30pm

Quernmore Methodist Hall 26th January7.30pm

Local knowledge is vital in choosing the best routes for the ducting. The best place to dig will be known by the person who owns or farms the land. We also need to know where all the utilities are on each of the properties. Mapping is a key part of the project and so the more volunteers we have for this phase the more speedily the information can be confirmed, and the sooner work can commence.


How to invest in B4RN

Please read the documentation on the website to make your own informed choice with advice from family members, friends and a financial adviser. If you have already decided to purchase shares, the form can be found here, download it, fill it in and sign it and post to the address on it with a cheque, or you can also pay for your shares by BACS or online banking. Email us for a reference number to use.

Once enough funds have been raised from share purchases then the necessary materials can be bought to allow the cable laying phase to start. The sooner we all buy shares the sooner we start.


Website Upgrade

The website we put online at the start of the project on the free Google Sites is now having an update, kindly designed and provided by our sponsors Carrera IT. The website address will remain www.B4RN.org.uk

Please be patient while we do this, if you can’t find any information you need please email us and we will respond.

The full video of the B4RN launch is now online thanks to John Hamlett of Lunar (Gressingham)

and the Question and Answer session which followed.

The management team page has been updated with contact details of each member. Please contact one of the team if you have any questions or if you would like to join the team and help with the next stage.

The B4RN project continues to gather both national and international support from the farming community, local, national and international businesses and organisations, Parish Councils, MPs, the Duke of Westminster, Neelie Kroes VP European Commission, Kansas Google GigabitCity community group, and local residents. Videos, emails and Audioboos now on the website -please click and enjoy the acclaim this area of Lancashire is receiving!


Thank you again for all your support and offers of help. With your investment and assistance, B4RN can lead the way, globally. Only once we reach the target for the first stage (the core network), will we begin to purchase the required equipment, so please continue to help us reach this day as soon as possible by promoting B4RN and encouraging potential investors to find out about the project. The core will take roughly 3 months to complete and provide the first 460 connections, so leap in now and take advantage of the Early Bird offer for the extra bonus for your property once you are due for connection (or nominate a property to do so if you live elsewhere or overseas).


Any Questions?

The FAQ section of the website has been populated with many of the questions received on the registration forms and by email. If your question has not been answered there please email us and we will answer. The last few months have been pretty hectic but we are now getting organised and we are sure that the new website will make it all clearer and easier to find information.


December 16th
Press release after launch:
The Broadband 4 the Rural North (B4RN) share launch was an exceptional success with standing room only in the Storey, Lancaster on 15th December 2011. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JUFkJJkeYHk The event was sponsored by the Storey and Forest of Bowland AONB (Area Of Natural Beauty)

This community owned broadband project has captured the imagination of many around the country and the world, much to the surprise of local residents.

B4RN is seeking £2 million funding from investors, with a guarantee that skills and jobs will be created within the Trough of Bowland and Lune Valley communities, and whenever possible revenue generated from the B4RN service will be spent locally.

The B4RN Management Team is currently made up of local volunteers who live within the target area and who know the geography, people and culture. The team’s experience and skill-set range from technology to legal, community engagement to financial experts and exhibits all the qualities of a typical rural community.

Professor Barry Forde, CEO of B4RN, presented the project and share offer to a packed house, with attendees from the local community, professional organisations, journalists and industry pundits from

around the UK. The presentation was followed by a Q&A session and post-networking event which included a wide range of informed questions and highlighted the level of knowledge and experience within the B4RN team.

There was an opportunity for attendees to view the proposed route maps and discuss them in detail with logistics team leader Tom Hartley. Other members of the B4RN team were present to help answer questions and discuss the project.

Photo of map table, maned by Tommy, who is explaining the routes to local farmers and parish councillors, and also visiting councillors from Speldhurst in the deepest south...

The B4RN project continues to gather both national and international
support from the farming community, local businesses, Parish Council’s, MP’s, the Duke of Westminster, Neelie Kroes VP European Commission, Kansas Google GigabitCity community group, and local residents.

The mayor of Lancaster Mr Paul Woodruff cut a celebratory cake and the share issue was launched, with the first cheque being presented by Mr Walter Willcox from Surrey. 
Walter Willcox and the first cheque for shares

The full audio stream of the presentation is here: http://dl.dropbox.com/u/6442532/b4rn1.mp3

Anyone interested in shares is welcome to read the share offer document and make an informed choice, all the details are in it, and the form to purchase shares is also downloadable from this link: http://tinyurl.com/6ff6mn4

December 1st 2011

We passed the target! B4RN has a green light to proceed. Thank you to everyone for your ongoing support. Now is this community's chance to prove what can be done to provide Gigabit FTTH (hyperfast Internet) to even the most rural and remote communities.

The invites have gone out to the launch event on December 15th at The Storey, Lancaster at 2pm. The spaces are already filling up, fast, so if you have not had an invite or know someone who has been left out, please get in touch ASAP. Space is limited.

The Management Committee has moved into overdrive to take the project forwards, and we hope to see you at the Launch event when much more information will be provided to potential investors, homes, business and public sector premises in the B4RN footprint.

All details of the shares offer will be online from 15th December. The project now needs everyone to complete the share application forms and/or registration for subscriptions so we can begin the build from early 2012 with the community investment. 

It is not all about buying shares. If you have not already done so, you can just sign up for a subscription too if you live in our project area. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us. (Should we make a short video that explains all the options? Let us know).

In the meantime, the latest Press Release from December 1st can be found below in Attachments.

Messages of support from around the world are coming in now (see the new Supporters' Page) and we are quite simply delighted at the local, national and international response to B4RN. The blogosphere is now posting too about this patch of Lancashire.....

November 14th
The team met at the end of October and decided to proceed with the share issue, this will be announced shortly once it has cleared through the HMRC checks and processes. The latest newsletter has been emailed to registrants and copies can be found at the bottom of this page.

October 10th 2011
download the full version of the latest newsletter from the link at the bottom of the page The B4RN management team met last Friday night in Wray to discuss how the project has progressed 
● How many interested parties have now registered for the scheme 
● The next stage of the business plan 
Registration is progressing well and the additional efforts of the various “village champions” were now achieving good results. Current registrations are 443 against our target of 662 (see beanstalk on www.b4rn.org.uk for updates) 

Based on the positive reaction from the community, we agreed that the project should now move to the funding stage. Working teams have been organised to bring together the various items still required to allow a share prospectus to be finalised, printed and sent out to all parties. This is a major step forward.

NEWSFLASH 27/09/11: The beginning of October was a self-imposed deadline by the Management Committee. It is not set in stone, and this is a community project running to the timetable of our community. It has taken some time for people to understand what is being proposed, but it is obvious from the increasing number of sign ups (30 yesterday alone and 17 more today even before the Wray meeting) that the ball has now started rolling. On 7th October, a decision will be made by the Committee about extending the deadline for registrations of interest.

HORNBY: The route from Melling has now been extended to come down into the top end of Hornby, which means that any properties from Deer Park Lane to the top of the village are now included in Phase 1. Please help in getting support from all of these properties, using one of our posters, by knocking on doors, talking about the project to your friends, family and neighbours, etc.


By October we will need to have an idea of how many of the local community in the Phase 1 area (please see the maps) wish to take a service and/or to take shares. So, please register an interest and make sure all of your friends, family and neighbours are aware of the project, and actively considering involvement

Check the Press Coverage page for media articles, blog posts and press interest in the project.

Open letters of support have been received by the project and are always very welcome. 

Regular news bulletins are posted and archived below and the email newsletters will also offer updates. The latest one is at the bottom of this page.
  
Thanks to Ray Frost for the September update below, which has come from the sterling work in Melling to evangelise B4RN to the community:

Having completed our most recent round of meetings, we are now heading into the crucial period of needing everyone who is interested in next generation rural broadband to register their interest. Please complete the registration form to express an interest

The key facts about this fibre optic network:-
  • It will be a high quality, state of the art, 1Gbps (1000Mbps) future proofed solution, owned and operated by the community.
  • 100% coverage - nobody left out.
  • Cost - £150 connection fee, then £30 per month (including VAT) Plus the ability to operate a phone service via the network thus saving £14.60 per month in line rental to BT! Existing landline numbers can be kept.
B4RN is a community benefit society registered with the Financial Services Authority under the Industrial and Provident Societies Act 1965 - it is similar to a cooperative - the assets are locked down and the benefits of the scheme will be preserved for the benefit of the community and for future generations.

Lancashire County Council has a project to address the issues of poor broadband in rural areas and has secured £30m of public funding. However, this will most likely be spent on upgrading mainly urban “rural” areas to BT’s superfast broadband product rather than tackling the problems of the really rural areas with fibre optics. Properties in the B4RN parishes will still be left in the slow lane with only basic 2Mb broadband, wireless or unsatisfactory satellite links.

Archived News:

September

Update: 
The meeting at Wray was a great success!

NEXT MEETING: The final presentation of the project is at Wray Institute on Tuesday September 27th at 7pm.

Everyone is welcome to attend and to see their properties on the Google Earth B4RN map and network plan. Wray Institute is the only venue with broadband of sufficient capacity to display this information. Refreshments will be served, so please tell your friends and neighbours about it and any questions they have will be answered.


Wennington, Arkholme, Quernmore, Over Wyresdale, Melling and the young farmers' meetings went down well. There are photos from the meetings here.
September sees the start of the parish parties, events put on by the parish councils or communities to inform the residents and answer questions. Details are on the getting involved page. The fliers have been delivered to all the homes in the 8 parishes, and lots of support is being registered. The Lancaster Guardian, Farmers Guardian and Radio Lancashire have also run articles on B4RN. (see the press coverage page)

August 2011
News of the project is beginning to spread around the area with B4RN presentations having been made at Quernmore, Wray, Wennington, Tatham, Arkholme and Melling, as well as announcements being made in parish and village newsletters and websites.

During the next few weeks, the first flier will be delivered to each of the properties in the Phase 1 area. During the first two weeks of September, further presentations will be made at Parish Council community presentation meetings - details of all these meetings will be available in your Parish and on village noticeboards.

Lancashire County Council is hosting a public meeting and workshop on Wednesday August 8th at Hornby Institute starting at 5.30pm and has invited BT and Commendium (the two short-listed bidders for a regional project) to attend. Local people are invited to hear more about the project, discuss the issues, and put forward their own views. This meeting is NOT associated with the B4RN project. (Update: BT again re-affirmed that superfast broadband would not be delivered in 10% of the country, which meant it won't be coming our way)

B4RN is not like a Leap Year, occurring every four years. It is an opportunity which will only come once in 50, 60 or even 100 years.


Just once in our lifetime. 


B4RN will provide a gold-medal, Olympic standard service to our community, the residents of our parishes, our children and grandchildren, with YOUR HELP.  
forest of bowland burn

Photo by George Ibbotson

This is our countryside and our challenge, we can get fibre to all these remote places, and become part of a digital nation.

Supporters page, please email or tweet your support and we will publish it on the page, the latest tweet is from Neelie Kroes, the Vice-President of the European Commission. 

The latest Press Release from December 1st can be found below in Attachments. Or click here.

Question:
Who is going to sign up for a gigabit fibre to the home connection for £30 a month?
Answer:
show of hands for b4rn at the wray meeting
We all are...



Archived newsletters/press releases etc. downloadble from links at the bottom of this page.
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Lindsey Annison,
1 Dec 2011 19:44
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broadband ruralnorth,
14 Nov 2011 09:26
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broadband ruralnorth,
8 Dec 2011 09:04
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broadband ruralnorth,
11 Jan 2012 00:37
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broadband ruralnorth,
11 Oct 2011 10:22
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broadband ruralnorth,
21 Dec 2011 13:46
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broadband ruralnorth,
19 Dec 2011 00:17