Broadband News

B4rn hits the 350 Gigabit connections figure

B4rn may have been featuring in the news because of all the RCBF problems and rows over coverage maps and over building by BT, but unlike so many other projects B4rn is actually continuing to build its network and has now connected 350 premises (180 of these since July, and the first 14 went live in November 2012).

For those that do not know B4rn is community network building a Gigabit FTTP solution to rural premises in Lancashire and people can either buy shares, or donate time to build the network or simply just pay to be connected, £150 connection fee and £30 per month.

The roll-out has taken longer than originally expected, but the next year should hopefully see a big dent made in the 3,000 or so premises they want to connect. The 350 connected figure is important, as they have previously suggested they become self sustaining at 300 paid subscriptions, and once this grows to 1,000 they will be able employ full-time staff.

B4rn may not be the large FTTP operator in the UK, but it is one of the most vocal and it now has more subscribers than the CityFibre network in Bournemouth which passes some 21,000 homes but has around 250 subscribers.

Comments

I believe ba4n also reported that their per connected customer cost was c£1,100 including CPE while incremental connection costs over the existing network would be £600.

This compares well to the average subsidy of >£200 per premise passed which is rightly causing the NAO and PAC alarm. At 20% penetration the public subsidy is higher per home connected than FTTP.

If the biggest cost item for FTTC is delivering power why not use the monies to take fibre through to the poles?

  • ValueforMoney
  • over 3 years ago

One big advantage B4rn will have is that the community side will make wayleaves easier to obtain. When BT/Virgin need them people see the pound signs spinning around.

If ultra rural can be done for £1,000 per home connected, then a rich person should be able to get richer by lending to the projects.

  • andrew
  • thinkbroadband staff
  • over 3 years ago

@ValueforMoney It would be interesting to know who much of that goes on the fibre cable and how much is spent on the active components.

  • Michael_Chare
  • over 3 years ago

How many voluntary based projects are available for rich people to subsidise ? Without the free labour and use of hardware, materials and facilities the £1,100 would be somewhat more I suspect. Is there any evidence of significant capacity or demand for this type of scheme ?

B4RN seems to cost 3 to 5 times more than BDUK projects, even with inflated views of subsidy per premise passed.

  • herdwick
  • over 3 years ago

Exactly of course it would, the people digging and rolling out the fibre are volunteers are they not? They aren't charging by the hour. Factor that in and cost per premise would rocket

  • GMAN99
  • over 3 years ago

@herdwick. B4RN are providing a full fibre connection in a rural area. There is little of this funded by BDUK. £30 is not expensive bearing in mind that you could use VOIP and avoid the need for a metal phone line. Gigaclear charge £37 p/m and they lay the fibre, to your property. BT's FTTP on demand is very much more expensive and generally only available in areas which already have FTTC.

  • Michael_Chare
  • over 3 years ago

@herdwick the voluntary projects are only necessary because of the BT/OFcom/BDUK/EU cartel and the nonsense that there has to be a fibre based solution to get funding even though BT have no idea how to implement a minimum 2mb service. Fixed wireless would have been a significantly cheaper and quicker installation for rural areas.

  • gerarda
  • over 3 years ago

@gerarda no they are necessary because no big telco's can make any money in those areas. Nothing to stop smaller telco's rolling out in rurals, some already do

  • GMAN99
  • over 3 years ago

If anyone had been allowed to install a large scale fixed wireless service as part of the mix at the same rate of subsidy that BT are getting I suspect there would have been a few takers. http://www.pcpro.co.uk/blogs/2013/07/18/how-bduk-bungled-britains-next-gen-broadband-rollout/ gives at least one example.

  • gerarda
  • over 3 years ago

@gerarda - Indeed, most impressed by what VFast have to offer in rural Kent. Getting 10Mbps symmetric for a business out in the sticks for a quarter of the price of EFM in central London.

  • mpellatt
  • over 3 years ago

Wireless and 4G are suitable umbrella technologies to reach remote areas, provided their capacity isn't overloaded.

I tend to think that the 1st round of BDUK (aiming at increasing coverage from 67% to 90%) was right to not go for wireless, and to aim at wired instead.

I believe that wireless will have more of a role to play in the final 5-10% - but will only stand a chance of doing so if demand from people in the 67-90 region is satiated beforehand with fixed coverage. That reduces the likelihood of overloading.

  • WWWombat
  • over 3 years ago

Is there any reason that B4RN didn't go for fixed wireless?

  • WWWombat
  • over 3 years ago

@WWWombat - the downside of that is that areas that have been waiting for 10 years for any sort of usable service have been put back by 5 years whilst money is being spent on "demand stimulation" to get people who are quite with their current speeds to upgrade to superfast

  • gerarda
  • over 3 years ago

missed an"OK" between quite and with

  • gerarda
  • over 3 years ago

Payroll is the biggest cost to any company, so voluntary labour brings down costs hugely.

  • themanstan
  • over 3 years ago

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