Brock & Calder B4RN Community Group

Bringing hyperfast Broadband to our community

B4RN is a non-profit organisation started in 2011 by Barry Forde in Arkholme and Quernmore. It is registered as a community benefit society. They can install hyperfast fibre optic broadband right to the router in your house giving a data transfer speed of 1000 megabits/s (i.e. 1 gigabit/s) for both uploading and downloading. It has expanded parish by parish, connecting over 5000 houses, and has now reached us. The installation is organised and funded by volunteers within our area to keep the cost affordable. We rely on landowners granting permission to bury the lines over their land. Anyone taking a connection may be asked to allow a communal use duct through their land. Visit the website at https://b4rn.org.uk/ for lots of useful information and answers to Frequently Asked Questions, as well as information on how to invest and become a shareholder in B4RN for the benefit of our Community

Charges

A connection for a residential property costs £150 and connection is free for a business. When you take the broadband service, the fee is £30 per month (see the B4RN website for exceptions). 75% of the c£260,000 installation cost is funded by the government through the Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme. The minimum £65,000 balance of funding needed for work on this project to commence requires people in our community to raise by way of purchasing B4RN shares. This can be considered as a loan and these are the terms: shares can be bought at £1 each from a minimum of 100 to a maximum of 100000. They must be held for three years, after which you can apply to have B4RN buy the shares back at face value. The shares can only be sold back to B4RN so there is no prospect of capital gain. B4RN Share interest of 5% per annum is paid at financial year end each year and is calculated from day one. The interest is paid in the form of shares, with the option to convert to cash on demand and do not have to be held for 3 years. Each shareholder will be a member of B4RN and have one vote. Anyone buying £1500 or more of shares will not need to pay the £150 connection fee. Please read the prospectus and B4RN’s rules by visiting b4rn.org.uk and clicking the “Resources” then the “Investors” tab. Also read the FAQ page.

When you take the service you will get an online form from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport and when you complete and submit this B4RN will give you £150 or your business £300. You have around 18 months after the project starts (assumed Spring 2019) to take the service. If the service is not taken within this window then B4RN will not receive the grant for your property and you will not receive the £150 / £300 service incentive.

The Service

The fibres are carried inside tough plastic pipes which will normally be buried in trenches to the edge of your garden. The connection fee will cover the router and its connection to the system. Burying the pipe through your garden will be your responsibility (volunteers may be available to help). Once installed, B4RN have a policy of next-day response to any connection problem. The nominal speed is 1000 megabits per second upload and download data transfer rate with no limit on data use. Visit b4rn.org.uk and click “Resources” then the “Customer” tabs to find further information on the use of the B4RN connection for telephones and TV to help you decide whether you can terminate your landline connection and transfer your number to a new provider.

Volunteers

Volunteers laying the main cabinet base and digging the chambers at Calder Vale Club - Oct 2019

Building the network at community level is actually quite straightforward and with guidance and support from B4RN anyone can do it. The community’s energy and interaction can become quite infectious and many volunteers choose to stay on and help other areas get up and running long after they themselves are connected. And it’s not all about digging holes, volunteers are needed for…

  • informing the community and encouraging investment
  • walking routes and agreeing wayleaves with landowners
  • coordinating site work between volunteers and landowners
  • fieldwork of laying duct and installing chambers
  • advising property owners and helping to install their house fittings
  • baking for volunteers – our army marches on tea and cake!

We already have a working group which meets about once a month at the Calder Vale Club. All abilities and talents will be needed in the task of connecting our area. If you feel able to help, please turn up at the next meeting on [Wednesday 6th November at 7:30pm].

For further information contact Tom Walmsley on 01995 606258

Or email tom.john.walmsley@gmail.com