B4RN wins the race to Dolphinholme
The B4RN project is possibly the most high profile fibre to the premises project in the UK due in part to the high social media profile of several members of the organisation. It has also apparently being in a race to bring FTTP to Dolphinholme in Lancashire with the County Council and BT. B4RN is reported to have connected the village hall, with the first few homes also online. This adds to the other 450 or so live premises on the full fibre Gigabit capable network.
Hopefully we will see the first speed test from Dolphinholme appear on our maps, we should see speeds jump from the current 1.5 to 2 Mbps to speeds that should be sufficient for the next couple of decades.
The news of the roll-out was broken by Ian Grant, who covers some of the history about the roll-out and we have looked at the availability checkers and as yet no sign of the rumoured FTTP roll-out by BT. The crucial bit of information in this battle of the PR machines is that while B4RN lodged its coverage plan with the County Council it does not appear to have been done under the official Open Market Review.
The areas of the UK where BT is rolling out FTTP tend to be slower to build than the FTTC areas, and it is likely that Dolphinholme is similar, though there was nothing that absolutely confirmed the previous pictures of Openreach in the area were FTTP based.
Most of the success of B4RN is built on the work of a hardcore of volunteers and negotiating free access to private land to run the fibre over, rather than paying the usual commercial wayleave pricing. Even with this help, the amount of hardwork required to build a rural FTTP should not be overlooked, the first properties were connected in November 2012, so if the figure of 450 is correct the original aim of 1322 properties connected by the summer of 2012 is still a long way off in the distance.