Rural broadband project B4YS has hit its funding target for the first phase of its gigabit fibre rollout.
B4YS (Broadband for Yealand, Storth and Silverdale) has successfully raised the £101,000 needed to start bringing FTTP (Fibre to the Premises) broadband to three Lancashire villages.
Once completed, the project will see individual homes, businesses, farms and properties able to access download and upload speeds of 1Gbps (1,000Mbps).
The first phase of the B4YS plan will see residents creating a core network links between the three villages before it begins building individual links in the second phase.
By the end of the project, estimated to be finished by the end of 2015, every home, business, farm and property across Yealand, Storth and Silverdale will be able to get gigabit broadband for £30/month.
The final route for the initial dig still needs to be finalised and funds for the second phase still need to be raised.
B4YS campaigners say that wayleaves (permission to dig on private property) are being sought now and a good chunk of the second stage funding has already been secured. Before any digging can begin, the final route of the network needs to be agreed on and permission from all relevant landowners secured.
The project will make use of the B4RN (Broadband for the Rural North) network which is close to connecting 600 properties to gigabit fibre broadband across Lancashire.
Like B4RN, B4YS will charge residents £30/month for a symmetrical 1Gbps service. There’s no line rental but there is a one off £150 charge which covers the cost of connection and includes a wireless router.
Phone services aren’t included but there’s always Skype and Vonage – on a gigabit fibre connection VoIP calls should be as clear as a bell.
The publicly-funded Superfast Lancashire project will bring superfast broadband to over 675,000 homes and businesses across the county by the end of 2015. The majority of these locations will be able to order FTTC (Fibre to the Cabinet) services.
Currently these provide top download speeds of 80Mbps and maximum uploads of 20Mbps. While experiments with emerging technologies like G.fast are taking place right now, FTTC won’t be able to offer the same kind of experience as a gigabit broadband connection.
While Superfast Lancashire project partner BT will be connecting some places to FTTP lines, these currently only give customers top download speeds of 330Mbps.
That said, BT has ably demonstrated the capabilities of its FTTP connections – in 2012 it successfully delivered 10Gbps to a business premises in Cornwall, proving that it can easily meet future demand.
This sees BT replacing the copper last mile of an FTTC connection with a fibre link, greatly increasing the top speeds possible. FoD is currently only available to business customers and the prices for such a service aren’t cheap.
It possible that in the future BT may offer this to non-business customers and drop the prices to something most families can afford, but that’s not likely to happen anytime soon.