THE SUPERFAST INTERNET

IMG_20170503_113609 Superfast fibreoptic internet is built by farmer’s wife Christine Conder for 2,300 members, rural community Lancashire as a revolutionary internet pioneer. Her DIY solution solved neighbour’s internet connectivity problems in 2009 evolved into B4RN internet service provider of a faster gigabit per second broadband speed to parishes in picturesque Lune Valley. Is 35 times faster than 28.9 Mbps UK speed internet connection according to Ofcom. Began when trees separating Chris’ neighbouring farm from nearest wireless mast only internet connection provided by Lancaster University grew too tall. Something more robust was required and no alternatives available Chris decided to take matters into her own hands. She purchased a kilometre of fibre-optic cable and commandeered her farm tractor to dig a trench. After lighting the cable, the two farms were connected, with hers feeding the one behind the trees. “We dug it ourselves and we lit the cable ourselves and we proved that ordinary people could do it she says. It was not rocket science just 3 days of hard work. Her motto she often repeats in conversation, is JFDI. Three of those letters stand for Just Do It. The fourth is work out for yourself.unnamedB4rn in actionFibre optic cable cattle grid. And JFDI she has. B4RN now claims to have laid 2,000 miles 3,218km of cable connected to string of local parishes to its network. It won’t connect a single household, so the entire parish has to be on board before begins to build. Each household pays £30 per month, £150 connection fee, larger businesses pay more. And households must do some installation themselves. The entire infrastructure is fibre-optic cable right to the property than just to cabinet with existing copper phone lines running to home generally offered by British Telecom. The service is so popular the company has work lined up for next 10 years and people from as far as Sierra Leone attended the open days held couple of times a year. The bulk of work is done by volunteers although there are now 15 paid staff on board. Farmers give access to their land and those with equipment like diggers and tractors do the heavy work. Other landowners can charge B4RN complain on Facebook page about price of cabling under a disused railway bridge owned by Highways England. A spokesperson told BBC standard industry cost include a £4,500 fee for surveying, legal fees and price per metre for cable installation. So B4RN has yet to make profit once it pays back shareholders it should be in good financial health although on condition profits ploughed back into community. Chris’ services to rural broadband have recognised by the Queen was awarded an MBE in 2015, alongside Barry Forde, a retired university lecturer who now leads the co-operative.nl26_03_160928_photo_2_1.jpgcalfNewborn cattle registered online within 5days in UK. Incredibly B4RN customers had been surviving on dial-up services or paying high fees for satellite feeds. So Chris says some still do. As farmers now register online with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) within 5 days of every calf being born to enter food chain, connectivity is vital. “All the farmers who have not got broadband have to rely on land agents or auction marts or public wi-fi spaces which we haven’t got round here either, or paying somebody to do it,” says Chris. Farmers finding dial-up just could not cope with it. They bought satellites, but children use all satellite feed for things and when they came to use it at night there was no feed left, gone over data and they were being charged a fortune for what they then used. “So the farmers have been incredibly supportive of this and that is why they have given us free rein throughout the fields, which we go through to connect them and then we get to the villages which subsidise the farmers’ connections. “You could not do it for farmers alone, but you could not get to the village without farmers so it is win win.300C.jpgB4rn in actionnl13_01_160701_IMG_4504Independent fibre broadband providers like Gigaclear serve 50,000 customers in several UK counties and Hyperoptic is active in 13 cities. They all claim to offer 1Gbps speeds. “The best way to make sure this country has faster up to date internet is support alternative networks says Chris. “When there is competition BT will then up their game. “We cannot do the whole country. BT, Virgin etc are good businesses, they are in it to make profit, as businesses do.” Openreach, currently a division of BT, owns the UK’s largest broadband infrastructure. Big picture is a plan alongside government to get 95% UK fibre coverage,” said Kim Mears, Openreach’s managing director of Infrastructure Delivery. The provider upgraded 90 small Community Fibre Partnership, set up to work in areas it describes as “hard to reach.” Ms Mears appealed to those struggling with poor connectivity to make contact. A lot to gain if communities come together we are really here to help,” she said.

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