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Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - 19th December 2011

Broadband 4 the Rural North, B4RN launched to a packed auditorium of future subscribers, investors and industry experts on in Lancaster Thursday 15th December. B4RN CEO, Barry Forde presented the details of the community led broadband project in North Lancashire.

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.
Map workshop


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. (see supporters page on this site)

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 cheque for b4rn

There are many videos and photos from the event on the website, http://www.b4rn.org.uk and 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




NOTES TO EDITORS

1. B4RN has been more than three years in the planning and development stage. The B4RN project will bring a state of the art, fibre optic broadband connection to the rural communities long before most of the urban areas. Rural Lancashire plans to be a world leader in “hyperfast”.

2. Professor Barry Forde (B4RN Chief Executive) is a networking expert with many years experience of designing, building and operating high performance networks. He was responsible for the CLEO network which provides connectivity to over 1000 schools and public sector sites across Lancashire and Cumbria. Bios are available for Professor Forde and the Management team http://tinyurl.com/6tpdkmt

3. The full business plan is available on the website, along with details of the pricing and payment structure for local residents and businesses. http://tinyurl.com/895uvdx This includes bonuses of free install and connection for 12 months with a £1500 investment, three further free months for early bird investors, and payment in shares for involvement in the deployment of the project.

4. A target of 662 registrations of interest were required for a green light and this was passed in just three months. The project moves one step closer to implementation with the launch of the Share Issue. “The phased network will be built by the community over three years for the seven phases. Now we have passed our target of over 700 registrations of interest in investment and taking a service at £30/month for 1Gbps, we can proceed to raise the capital required for Phase 1,” said Barry Forde.

5. B4RN will initially provide internet and telephony with further services in the future. Each home will have a battery backup so telephony over the fibre means landline connections are no longer required.

6. Christine Conder, a farmer’s wife and rural broadband pioneer, who successfully dug and installed the first rural fibre cable to her farm in Wray in 2009, knows it can be done and sums up the enthusiasm and ethos of B4RN, “If we don’t do it ourselves then it will never get done, so B4RN is the answer, let’s all JFDI.”

7. Photos (to be accredited to B4RN) are available at http://www.flickr.com/photos/b4ruralnorth

Contact details:

Professor Barry Forde, Barry@B4RN.org.uk
Christine Conder, Chris@B4RN.org.uk
Lindsey Annison, Lindsey@B4RN.org.uk

Telephone: 01524 221588 or mobile: 07952 503253 / 07967 670759
Twitter: @dig2agig
Website: http://www.B4RN.org.uk
JFDI (Just Farmers Doing IT)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - 1st December 2011


Residents in North Lancashire launch Fibre Optic Broadband Company

An exciting community initiative, initially across eight parishes of rural Lancashire, to deliver a world class hyperfast fibre optic broadband network is being launched at The Storey in Lancaster on 15th December at 2pm.

Broadband has become essential for every sector of the community and increasingly important for our daily lives. Government and the large telecom companies plan to upgrade broadband to ‘superfast’ but not in many rural areas, where limited internet and mobile coverage affects businesses, homes and farms. The difficulty is reaching economic viability when private companies’ costs are so high and subscriber numbers are low.

Broadband for the Rural North (B4RN) plans to lower the costs, both in the building of the broadband network and to the end user, by using local contractors and the community. “Farmers and local people have the skillset we need for this project. They know the land and people, and have been offering to work for shares, which means the digging for the core network can start early in 2012. We expect this to be completed in approximately 3 months, weather permitting, and then we will begin to connect the first users,” stated Professor Forde. Shares will be available from 15th December - further information and application forms will be available on the B4RN.org.uk website on that date.

B4RN’s plans are for a hyperfast broadband network fit for purpose far into this century.
A 1 gigabit (1000Mbps) connection will ensure that any interaction with the Internet will be quick and easy. Television, films, cheap phone and video calls over the Internet, the ability to extend local mobile phone networks to cover black-spots, local security, telehealth and medicine applications - all will become possible. B4RN will be initially be providing the broadband connection and VoIP telephony, with further services to follow as the network rolls out over the coming years.

Barry Forde, B4RN Chief Executive, will explain the project and launch the share offer in the company to raise the necessary capital required over the next few months. Representatives from the first phase communities of Melling, Arkholme, Quernmore, Abbeystead, Wray, Tatham, Roeburndale, Wennington and Caton with Littledale will be at the event as well as local dignitaries and celebrities.

B4RN is a community benefit company, owned by its shareholders. Income made will be re-invested in the service and spent within the communities the company serves. The shares are being made available under the EIS (Enterprise Investment Scheme) that offers 30% tax relief, with a minimum investment of £100 and maximum of £20,000.

B4RN hopes to attract the support of local, national and international investors, whilst remaining a truly community-run business, bringing fast, future-proof, sustainable Internet access to the rural uplands, for this generation and those to come, leaving a lasting legacy for the area.

NOTES TO EDITORS

1. B4RN has been more than three years in the planning and development stage. The B4RN project will bring a state of the art, fibre optic broadband connection to the rural communities long before most of the urban areas. Rural Lancashire plans to be a world leader in “hyperfast”.

2. Professor Barry Forde (B4RN Chief Executive) is a networking expert with many years experience of designing, building and operating high performance networks. He was responsible for the CLEO network which provides connectivity to over 1000 schools and public sector sites across Lancashire and Cumbria. Bios are available for Professor Forde and the Management team http://tinyurl.com/6tpdkmt

3. The full business plan is available on the website, along with details of the pricing and payment structure for local residents and businesses. http://tinyurl.com/895uvdx This includes bonuses of free install and connection for 12 months with a £1500 investment, three further free months for early bird investors, and payment in shares for involvement in the deployment of the project.

4. A target of 662 registrations of interest were required for a green light and this was passed in just three months. The project moves one step closer to implementation with the launch of the Share Issue. “The phased network will be built by the community over three years for the seven phases. Now we have passed our target of over 700 registrations of interest in investment and taking a service at £30/month for 1Gbps, we can proceed to raise the capital required for Phase 1,” said Barry Forde.

5. B4RN will initially provide internet and telephony with further services in the future. Each home will have a battery backup so telephony over the fibre means landline connections are no longer required.

6. Christine Conder, a farmer’s wife and rural broadband pioneer, who successfully dug and installed the first rural fibre cable to her farm in Wray in 2009, knows it can be done and sums up the enthusiasm and ethos of B4RN, “If we don’t do it ourselves then it will never get done, so B4RN is the answer, let’s all JFDI.”

7. Photos (to be accredited to B4RN) are available at http://www.flickr.com/photos/b4ruralnorth

Contact details:

Professor Barry Forde, Barry@B4RN.org.uk
Christine Conder, Chris@B4RN.org.uk
Lindsey Annison, Lindsey@B4RN.org.uk

Telephone: 01524 221588 or mobile: 07952 503253 / 07967 670759
Twitter: @dig2agig
Website: http://www.B4RN.org.uk
JFDI (Just Farmers Doing IT)