B4RN broadband reaches min threshold

It’s pleasing to note that B4RN Broadband For the Rural North has garnered enough interest for the founders to launch the company and move the project forwards. B4RN was set up by a group of people who realised that the only way they were going to get decent broadband connectivity into their (remote & rural) communities was by doing it themselves – jfdi.

Realistically for many areas of the UK this is the only way it is going to happen. The Chancellor of the Exchequer made announcements last week concerning additional funding to widen the footprint of Superfast Broadband to a lucky 90% of the population. There was an element of razzamataz in the announcement because I suspect that BT will be hitting this target without the government’s help.

You can however understand why the government is looking for good news – we would probably all do the same.  After all in focusing on investment in major conurbations the bulk of UK plc will be getting competitive broadband speeds.

In doing this though he is stretching that digital divide – widening the gap.  Shutting my eyes I can almost see the digitalderelict farm cottage - post economic collapse of the countryside wasteland. Unsaleable houses lying derelict, littering the once idyllic and bustling British countryside. Reminiscent of the Highland Clearances of the 18th and 19th centuries.

The 2Mbps Universal Service Commitment still spoken of in BDUK and DCMS circles is a risible sop. A straw triumphantly clutched and held aloft by blind pragmatists.

B4RN is run by pragmatists with vision. Desperate visionaries but visionaries nonetheless and they have set their bar not at 2Mbps but 1Gbps, easily upgradeable in the future as will inevitably be necessary. B4RN has also answered the question  concerning what comes after “superfast” broadband – it is “hyperfast”1 . Eat yer hearts out BT marketing department 🙂

I am excited for the hill farmers of Lancashire. It’s a tough old game, farming but it obviously has its rewards and now for some of them there will be the bonus of having one of the fastest broadband networks in the country. For notspot dwellers elsewhere holding on passively  limply for their 2Mbps 1st generation broadband service there is only one message.  If you wait for something to happen nothing will happen. You have to get on and do it yourself.

As a footnote whilst I don’t believe anything will come of the 2Mbps USC it is becoming increasingly clear that the government should do more to encourage investment in rural broadband. Unfortunately the disincentives are such that potential players are retreating not advancing in this market.

The formal launch of B4RN is happening at The Storey Hotel in Lancaster at 2pm on December 15th. Good luck to them.

1 I hereby lay claim to the word “uberfast” broadband, henceforth the next one up from hyperfast.

Published by Trefor Davies

Liver of life, father of four, CTO of trefor.net, writer, poet, philosopherontap.com

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  1. Lindsey Annison

9 Comments

  1. Once we move beyond –fast, you will all adopt a whole new term anyway. As with all teen terminology, it’ll be the opposite of what you expect so I lay claim to “lanky” (as in from Lancashire) for the up to 10gig range. Thanks for the post Tref

  2. Rural should be easier for self help, a bunch of farmers could dig their own fibre in,
    they have the equipment and land, just need some tech partners to light it. Keeping it
    private may avoid the fibre tax disincentive too.

    While people think only BT can provide they’ll only get what BT get round to providing.

  3. Wishing good luck and much success to everyone involved with B4RN. I look forward to meeting some truly inspirational people at today’s launch. I promise you that as soon as I get my own blog up and running, I will be writing about this project. I am sure that this project will encourage many other people in not-spots around the UK to build their very own superfast broadband network – jfdi.

  4. The launch went brilliantly, and the cheques are now arriving as people invest in their own company. Strangely the first cheque was from Surrey, from a supporter who just wanted to help out. Others are investing because of the tax return on EIS. The main thing is that the local community own their own company, and look after the pennies, so the pounds take care of themselves. Great excitement and a great year ahead building the gigabit parishes.

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