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Rural fibre broadband: building a network on video

Rural FTTP broadband project B4RN has raised enough money to complete the first part of its Gigabit core network.

The Lancashire-based project has marked the occasion with a video showing their cable-laying equipment and training volunteers to connect the cables.

Broadband For The Rural North is a £1.86m community-lead bid to create a fibre-to-the-premises service for an area that won’t be covered by BT’s superfast rollout.

The first part of its core network is 75km of cabling on 12 routes, that provide interconnections between five parish hubs, the B4RN core and a resilient link into the national internet backbone.

More than £360,000 has been raised in the community to buy the reels of fibre-optic ducting, access chambers and lids for the core network.

The local volunteers have been trained by duct-supplier Emtelle in laying, handling and connecting the fibre ducts, using a special duct-burying machine and ground scanner to locate underground utility pipes and drains.

With a mixture of mechanised and hand-digging to cover the terrain, the video demonstrates the time and effort required to build fibre-optic networks.

It’s a testament to the dedication of local volunteers, but demonstrates the cost of reaching the most remote parts of the UK for traditional communications companies who have to hire labour to complete the slow process.

B4RN’s services will start with broadband and phone, with TV and other further services in the future. Each home will have a battery backup for their phone so that BT’s old copper landlines are no longer required.

Ownership of B4RN shares starts from £100, with 30 per cent tax refunds available to anyone investing between £500 and £20,000.

A £1500 investment ensures a Foundation Membership with additional bonuses, such as a free connection and one year’s free subscription to the gigabit service.

A 1Gbps symmetrical connection (1,000Mbps up and down) will cost £30/month with a £150 connection fee.

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