Rural broadband supporters can put their money where their mouth is by sponsoring a metre of fibre optic cable laid a pioneering community broadband scheme.
B4RN is offering anyone the chance to have anyone’s name written on a metre of fibre duct for £5, then buried in the Lancashire uplands – or five names for £20!
Among the names lined up for burial so far are BT chief executive Ian Livingston and Ofcom’s chief executive, Ed Richards – both bête noires of the rural broadband movement.
London-based supporter Camille Mendler said: “This is such a fabulous initiative – talk about grass roots!
“Yes, I’m sitting in London with some pretty decent broadband access. But I’ll bet I’m not alone in wanting to sponsor this project because the idea is so right. And if we all get together and replicate this idea, everyone in Britain can benefit.”
The £1.86m Broadband for the Rural North project is being entirely funded by the local community and business partners, but organisers felt the £100 minimum for shareholders was too much for many.
Each named metre will be photographed before it goes into the ground, and displayed for posterity on the B4RN gallery.
B4RN has already raised the first £360,000 it needs to lay Phase One of its core network, 75km over 12 routes between five parish hubs, and a connection to the national internet backbone.
Most of the work is being done by volunteers who are also shareholders, and a 1Gbps symmetrical broadband connection will cost £30/month with a £150 connection fee.