I am a big supporter of the B4RN project and hope it is successful. I have attached a few words that I have sent to be published in the Caton Link to hopefully raise some more awareness. Please feel free to include in your open letter section.
A Caton resident.
B4RN - Broadband For the Rural North
Many people in the Lower Lune Valley suffer from slow broadband speeds or even no broadband at all. In today’s digital age this can be very restrictive as an ever increasing amount of our daily activities have to be carried out online. County Councils have plans to address this but in many cases rural areas like ours may not get the high speeds needed for the services that will require it.
Thankfully there is a local community project that has been setup to address this. B4RN aims to connect all properties in the 8 parishes of the Lower Lune Valley to a hyperfast 1Gbs, (that’s 1000Mbs) fibre optic cable. This will enable faster Internet, (upload & download) and video, TV, phone calls and more to be routed through the new connection.
The B4RN Project is a 100% community based, not-for-profit project. This means that it is run for the benefit of the community, by the community. Residents and businesses alike will benefit hugely from this project.
The cost will be £25+VAT per month with a one off charge for connection of £150. The connection will enable you to lose your BT line and have calls come through the network so that removes the need for line rental, which makes the service cheaper still. People who are willing to invest will also get various reductions on these fees.
The project will be rolling out to the early phases in the next few months with Caton & Brookhouse included in the later phases, however we need your support. Don’t assume our future broadband needs will be delivered by the big telecoms companies; it seems this will not be the case. In addition, it is likely that Council funding will only stretch
to a 2Mb service in the rural areas which form the last 10% of the UK to be connected. Locally, these are the areas that B4RN intends to offer a 1000Mb service.
Head to the B4RN website at www.b4rn.org.uk to find out more and register your interest.
Working Together We Can Speed Our Community To Greatness!
As you know the CLA has had rural broadband as a lobbying priority for almost ten years now. We have achieved a great deal but we still have far too many people in rural areas unable to access a reliable broadband connection.
In this day and age it is not acceptable, but we cannot leave it to the telcos as they have responsibilities to shareholders who would not condone a loss making venture.
Government must step in and plug the divide but until they do it is up to committed individuals and communities who just get on and do it. People like B4RN.
Your scheme is a shining example to those who simply complain, yet do nothing. Broadband will come, but for many it will be too late. Too late to help our children achieve their full potential while learning, too late for rural business who can no longer compete, too late for the person who wants to sell their house quickly and too late for the farmers who are being forced online to continue their day-to-day work.
I have no hesitation in encouraging people to register with your project, and am happy to help spread the word. What is so refreshing is that yours is not a make-do solution, but a genuine, future proofed giant leap forward that will benefit the whole community and beyond.
You’re well on the way, let’s hope that you hit the top of the beanstalk.
With best wishes.
Mike Ashton MCIJ MGAJ
The CLA is the premier organisation dedicated to safeguarding the interests of those responsible for land, property and business throughout rural England and Wales.
Hello Lune Valley peoples, by Walter
Ewhurst and Guildford in Surrey may seem a rather surprising location for a message of strong support for the B4RN proposal, even though one of my neighbours hails from the Forest of Bowland. I have been following your valiant efforts particularly since BT's quite disgraceful tactics with our Ewhurst project. You have a magnificent opportunity to solve your communications difficulties using the only genuine long-term solution of fibre cables direct into each and every household and building. I urge all residents and businesses to adopt this scheme just as soon as you can. You cannot expect your volunteers to consume their spare time endlessly just waiting for sufficient people to request the solution. It is almost certain that missing this opportunity will result in inadequate services for decades as other initiatives are unlikely to provide even one hundredth of the speed, whilst essential applications continue to accelerate in their need for much faster data transmission to achieve their potential.
I live in Merrow on the outskirts of Guildford, I am very fortunate to have a Virgin Media coaxial cable broadband service which is much faster than any other solution available. (We don't have a home fibre solution either !)
Today I downloaded 36 Gb of videos etc. which nobody in your area could possibly achieve. Although I could mention a lot of technical details it is probably better if I ask you some questions which are perhaps not the obvious ones.
1. Is the B4RN proposal a win-win solution for the whole community with many immediate benefits for all ?
2. What are the consequences of doing nothing ?
3. Apart from paying about the same for the existing phone line and exceedingly slow (or sometimes non-existant) services, what benefits might there be for me and also the community at large? (this site has listed many of the external benefits but has omitted the difficulties encountered when our antiquated phone service has failed.) Furthermore as the fibres are to be buried, the services won't suffer from adverse weather as demonstrated last winter. So when Grandpa slips on the ice, breaks an arm and gets concussion, you can still call for help and discuss the emergency with the medics with video, not just voice, until the paramedics arrive. Same with unexpected labour, the doctors can see you from afar.
4. Is there any good reason to continue with expensive-to-maintain 1950s technology ?
After all this time and the extraordinary dedication from the B4RN team, I think this really is "The end of the beginning" as somebody famous once said !
I wish your project every success and very soon too !
Walter G M Willcox
Open letter to the friends I have in the Valley. by Chris
Please take the time to inform yourself about this project, and having done so make your own minds up whether to support it. Please remember that it is our future we are working towards. We are in the final 10% of the UK where normal telco providers aren't going to get to. Well not in our lifetimes anyway.
It is up to us to support this project and help make it happen. We all have something to give. There are lots of jobs to do, either as a volunteer, or to get paid with shares, or to work for the company as an employee. It will open up great opportunities for new businesses, supporting the network or using the network.
This project will breathe new life into the rural areas, it will help the children do well at school and universities, it will help rural businesses, and help the farmers cope with administration and defra regulations. It will mean we can sell our properties in the future when we downsize/upsize. It will mean we can continue to live in our own homes as we grow older and keep in touch with friends, family and doctors/carers/shops from our own home and lead independent lives with the world coming to our door via a fibre.
On close scrutiny of the business plan the shares look very tempting, and the final cost of the connection and monthly charges is extremely favourable when compared to the alternatives available, giving 1000 times more speed for most of us at the very least for roughly the same cost.
All in all I have to heartily recommend supporting this project to everyone, but study it for yourself, ask questions, and if you decide to register please do it before the end of September, because if enough of us don't want it then it just won't happen. Please talk to your friends and neighbours and tell them all about it too. Even if they don't have a computer they can use the internet in lots of other ways. Telephones and televisions can have a direct feed from the fibre, saving money on landlines, tv aerials and getting more channels and films. Content providers will use our network, so even sky could come down it so you don't need ugly dishes on your property. Films can be downloaded in seconds, and also with the fibre being 'symmetrical' we could broadcast our own films if we wanted to, so digital industries could start up in the area. Already the farmers are thinking about cctv cameras on their tool sheds, diesel tanks and quad bikes, so they can spot intruders, and in doing so reduce insurance premiums. They could also keep an eye on stock in the fields using solar powered wireless webcams. The opportunities are mind boggling.
Please support this project any way you can.