Deserved publicity for an outstanding project (B4RN) undertaken by a community of switched on individuals “up North”!
The plan is to bring superfast broadband (speeds of up to1gigabit per second) to initially 1,452 individuals and businesses on a FTTH (fibreoptics to the home) basis in a rural area a bit to the right of Lancaster! which currently suffers from speeds of less than 2 megabits a second. It involves in Phase 1 the digging of 75km of trench for the cable.
Headlines have ranged from “The Dig Society” & “Net Gain” in the Daily Mail to “Lancashire Volunteers Dig For 1Gbps Broadband Victory” in Tech Week Europe and yesterday there was the ultimate accolade of a fairly lengthy and positive interview on BBC 5 live by Peter Allen (about 26 minutes in) with the Chief Executive Barry Forde
The project is set up on a commercial basis using a not-for-profit company (Broadband for the Rural North Ltd.) registered with the Financial Services Authority under the Industrial and Provident Societies Act 1965 using the community benefit option. Wiki has an explanation of an “IPS”
The overall funding of circa £1.8 million is largely to be raised by means of a share issue and you don’t even need to be from “up North” to participate!
It strikes us that this is an excellent blueprint for other community projects to follow especially their business plan (pdf) .
They are on Twitter with their very own hashtag #B4RN and of course Facebook . Here’s a Flickr stream of photos of the inaugural dig by one of the management team Martyn Dews who we noticed seems to have kept the copyright on the photos used by the Daily Mail – well done!
Anyway have a look and maybe even consider getting involved!