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B4RN fight off triffids to bring fibre to Dolphinholme
Wednesday 16 July 2014 16:35:59 by Andrew Ferguson

Really there was little doubt over who would reach Dolphinholme in rural Lancashire with a FTTP solution first. B4RN now has around 30 properties with their Gigabit FTTP service up and running and the rest of the village is being dug as we write. There has been a bit of a David and the evil death vampire death squid battle going on with Openreach supposedly set to also role out FTTP to the village, but no real sign of that beyond some telephone poles.

With a population believed to be around 200 people in the village, the B4RN roll-out is around one third of the way there and if the stories of zombie plants and snorkelling are true then this reveals just some of the problems that larger roll-outs would occur too and once you are involving companies rather than volunteers life becomes a lot more complicated too.

B4RN by virtue of being the underdog does extremely well for coverage in the mainstream press and while BT may have a much larger PR machine, B4RN punches well above its weight but does run the risk of becoming a fibre to the press release project which may annoy some who know that B4RN is on the way to the area but are growing tired of waiting.


Posted by Dixinormous over 2 years ago
B4RN have a long way to go to catch up to BT and Virgin Media, the masters of fibre to the press release.
Posted by dujas over 2 years ago
If what I've been told is accurate, Openreach won't be able to offer FTTP to Dolphinholme (and the surrounding area) until Spring 2015 at the earliest.
Posted by cyberdoyle over 2 years ago
I think its over a year since B4RN did a press release? What it does do is maintain a facebook and flickr site and keep the communities informed. It will also answer questions when asked even if it takes time. B4RN also doesn't hype or spin, or say 'homes passed', and if someone grows tired of waiting the solution is in their own hands, and many have taken to the trenches to get the connection to their communities. Its called JFDI.
Posted by johnpopham over 2 years ago
I think the "fibre to the press release" dig is very unfair. B4RN doesn't have a marketing budget, unlike most of the other players in the broadband field, what is does have is a community of supporters, some of them in its operating area, others well beyond, who are encouraged, amazed and, quite frankly gobsmacked at what it has achieved against all odds.

Most commentators said what B4RN is doing could not be done, but they have succeeded, using volunteers who have dug hundreds of miles of trenches in all weathers. That deserves, and gets, a lot of recognition.
Posted by AndrueC over 2 years ago
Maybe B4RN could create a wholesale product and offer it to other ISPs. Or lease their fibre to BTor :)
Posted by ValueforMoney over 2 years ago
Congratulations to B4RN. I am sure B4RN would more than welcome and enter agreements for recriprocal access to dark fibre and duct, paticularly fibre and cut paid for by the state.
Posted by WalterWillcox over 2 years ago
B4RN doesn’t race anybody; it isn’t usually an instant delivery mechanism nor was it designed to be so. It prospers on project management by happenstance. As the fibre feeds appear close-by each micro-community start "Diggering" with spades, mole plough or excavators as appropriate.
Posted by WalterWillcox over 2 years ago
But in 1 case 2 residents had decided to future-proof their property values by installing the tube but without a service. One day the lines were cut without any sign of rapid restoration. The B4RN community went into overdrive and installed the 1 Gbps service that day. At only £30.00 per month for hyperfast broadband and VOIP telephone they now have a more reliable service.
Posted by WalterWillcox over 2 years ago
Farmers can't be expected to destroy their crops but within a few days of a completed duct run it is populated with blown fibre and all the individual 7 mm tubes to each property likewise. Those that are desperate are the strongest activists and become masters of their own destiny with the sure and certain knowledge that ALL who want a service will have one. There are no distance limitations so "difficult to reach" and “lines too long’ don’t happen in the ever-expanding B4RN coverage area.
Posted by WalterWillcox over 2 years ago
B4RN demonstrate that their 1 Gbps symmetric solution, without any State Aid, provide some of the best services possibly in Europe if not the world.

I wonder if Lancashire CC has begun to realise yet that they are investing taxpayers' largess on "One of the biggest mistakes humanity has made". (Dr Peter Cochrane - former BT CTO - to the House of Lords in 2012).
Posted by mdar5 over 2 years ago
Well perhaps he might like to go to Australia where they have been rowing back from their initial promise of 100% FTTP by quite a bit.
(down to something like 22% FTTP)

...and he can tell them that they are a load of idiots as well!
Posted by ValueforMoney over 2 years ago
@mdar5 22% is not too dis-similar to what BT had in its mixed economy solution and something they have proved possible in Cornwall.
Running fibre through existing duct or over poles will in many cases be cheaper than paying for power and placing and maintaining a cabinet. However it is easier to collect subsidy on the latter.
Posted by New_Londoner over 2 years ago
By any standard, applying the comment "One of the biggest mistakes humanity has made" to something like FTTC or the BDUK programme is beyond pathetic, suggests to me someone has lost touch with reality and indeed humanity.

There are many issues that make getting the fastest possible internet connection seem trivial by comparison. It is not a quote worthy of repitition.
Posted by Blackmamba over 2 years ago
Hi Walter well done over Barn only if Cable and Wireless had helped you they may not have gone to the Wall. The Walter loop in Ewhurst supported by CW along the old rail plus other options they would have deverstated the BT holding in Surrey they then would not have lost their end user,s.
Posted by New_Londoner over 2 years ago
Not sure the RDA agreed as it pulled the plug on funding. Also, wouldn't the residents be saddled with obsolete kit from a vendor not in that market anymore, and be left to fund future upgrades, running costs themselves after the RDAs were wound up? Instead a mini digital region fiasco was avoided.
Posted by Blackmamba over 2 years ago
I just hope Openreach does not place a FTTC/P on Cab 4 of Forton Exchange this could place the B4RN project with problems in the village above.
Posted by otester over 2 years ago
Probably planted by BT.
Posted by ValueforMoney over 2 years ago
@WalterWilcox@New_Londoner I winced when I heared Peter C make that comment but as a techno prophet he is allowed if not expected to be loose on dates and costs. Unfortunately, with subsidies running at some £200 per premise passed for FTTC where there is a 20% takeup expected, as opposed to observed build costs for FTTP at £1,000 per connected customers, he will be proven more correct, more frequently than even he expected to be. It should not be one or the other but a mix based oon efficient design.
Posted by Blackmamba over 2 years ago
I just wonder what system Peter C has at his home in Suffork and what the take up rate is on his local FTTC if he has one fitted yet. I do agree that you need a mixed design Fibre and FTTC/P thus making compertion with all ISPs thus you get what you pay for. This is not a plant from a BT person .
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