B4RN – The Inspiration
Broadband for the Rural North (B4RN, read as “BARN”) is an innovative community-led project to bring high-speed broadband Internet connectivity to domestic ( “Fibre to the Home” or FTTH) and business properties in rural Lancashire, Yorkshire and Cumbria, in the north west of England. It functions as an Internet service provider.
Broadband for the Rural North Limited was registered as a Community Benefit Society (CBS) within the Industrial and Provident Societies Act 1965 (IPS) on 15 August 2011, and is regulated by the Financial Services Authority (FCA). It was formed to raise funds from the sale of shares to own and operate the network. However, much of the labour to dig trenches was supplied by local volunteers, who were rewarded with the chance to get a connection for their families or businesses, and some work is also rewarded in shares. Farmers and other landowners allowed free access for duct and the fibre within to cross their land. The company is headquartered in Melling, Lancashire and its chief executive is Barry Forde.
Regardless of line distance and location, every property passed is offered a true 1 Gbit/s (ie 1,000 Mbit/s download and upload) symmetric FTTH service. Significant expansion is still underway and they currently cover a geographical area similar in size to the inside of the M25.