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B4rn looks toward expanding to cover 3,206 properties
Monday 15 April 2013 14:03:17 by Andrew Ferguson

B4RN started with an ambitious plan to bring Gigabit Internet to rural Lancashire and put its first spade in the ground a year ago, and their ambitions are continuing to grow as the project expands its scope and looks for more investment to allow it grow and provide Gigabit coverage to a potential 3,206 properties across 21 parishes in Lancashire.

"To encourage investment we offered an incentive of a free connection and 12 months free service for those taking at least £1500 worth of shares either via the cash or effort routes. This share issue has raised £500K so far but the final figure will climb as the build out progresses. This is because many farmers and landowners have opted to invest via effort rather than cash, taking shares as payment for work done, such as digging the ducts to take the fibre. However much of the work has been delayed by the awful weather of 2012 and has yet to be done. We anticipate at least another £250K will be realised over the coming months as they catch up.

Once the original project got under way there was a massive amount of interest and many groups from adjacent parishes became active and wanted to be included. Where sufficient interest has been shown we have added these to the service area which has now grown to 21 parishes covering 420Km2 and containing 3200 properties. The cost has climbed to £3.5M so a second share offer of £3,000,000 has now been started."

Extract from B4RN Business Plan v5.2

B4RN with its rural uplands location is doing a FTTH roll-out in an area where most commercial estimates suggest a cost of £10,000 per premise, a lot of the saving to date has come from volunteer work and co-operation from landowners. The business plan does identify the risk that many other community projects run into and that is volunteer fatigue. With running costs of £90,000 per year, B4RN needs 300 paying connections to become self-sustaining, but moving to a longer term model with 5 or 6 full-time equivalent staff the number of active connections needed to break even rises to around 1,000.

The 21 parishes that will be covered assuming funding targets are met mean that a total of 500km of ducting will be used to link the 3,206 properties. The community led approach does mean the project does have exceptional take-up rates for properties the network passes, it will be interesting to see if the average take-up rate of 60% from the first 100 or so connections continues as the network expands.

Arkholme with Cawood, Bleasdale, Burrow with Burrow, Cantsfield, Caton with Littledale(partial only), Claughton, Dolphinholme area, Gressingham, Halton (Aughton area), Halton (Forgebank area), Hornby with Farleton, Ireby, Leck, Melling with Wrayton, Over Wyresdale, Quernmore, Roeburndale, Scotforth, Tatham, Tunstall, Wennington, Whittington, Wray with Botton

Expanded list of 21 parishes for B4RN coverage


Posted by GMAN99 over 4 years ago
Any news on how many actual properties are fibred up so far? Not passed I mean actually up and running
Posted by mobilebb over 4 years ago
Article on this morning said about 157 homes connected of something like 300 passed but that was for feb this year only I think.
Posted by pcoventry76 over 4 years ago
Whos ares you got to lick then?

I gave them 1400 houses and direct access via the council for their ring to access us. We are within 3KM of a fibre trunk line but they never came back to me.

Posted by themanstan over 4 years ago
B4RN is a community effort, not a commercial venture.

They might give you pointers on how to set up your own DIY venture, but they won't quote for the job...
Posted by herdwick over 4 years ago
So the first share offer yielded £0.5m, when they said "At the launch event we also issued our first shares offer inviting individuals and companies to subscribe for an initial tranche of up to £2M"

So why launch a second tranche if the first is 3/4 undersubscribed ? new tax year ?
Posted by herdwick over 4 years ago
Income from shares £ 750,000 £ 750,000
Income from grants £ 750,000 £ 240,000
Income from loans £ 50,000 £ 450,000
Posted by BTfanboy over 4 years ago
gmann99 shut up you British Telecom fan boy.
how about i go and widdle all over BT articles
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