Here is the entire press release:
B4RN (Broadband 4 the Rural North) has passed its target, in a mere three months, to gain enough interest to proceed with the project to connect 8 parishes in rural Lancashire to a community designed, built, owned and operated gigabit FTTH network. Full details of the project are available on the website http://www.b4rn.org.uk
There are Press Passes available for the launch event on Dec 15th at 2pm at The Storey, Lancaster.
Thank you for all your support.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - 1st December 2011
Residents in North Lancashire launch Fibre Optic Broadband Company
An exciting community initiative, initially across eight parishes of rural Lancashire, to deliver a world class hyperfast fibre optic broadband network is being launched at The Storey in Lancaster on 15th December at 2pm.
Broadband has become essential for every sector of the community and increasingly important for our daily lives. Government and the large telecom companies plan to upgrade broadband to ‘superfast’ but not in many rural areas, where limited internet and mobile coverage affects businesses, homes and farms. The difficulty is reaching economic viability when private companies’ costs are so high and subscriber numbers are low.
Broadband for the Rural North (B4RN) plans to lower the costs, both in the building of the broadband network and to the end user, by using local contractors and the community. “Farmers and local people have the skillset we need for this project. They know the land and people, and have been offering to work for shares, which means the digging for the core network can start early in 2012. We expect this to be completed in approximately 3 months, weather permitting, and then we will begin to connect the first users,” stated Professor Forde. Shares will be available from 15th December - further information and application forms will be available on the B4RN.org.uk website on that date.
B4RN’s plans are for a hyperfast broadband network fit for purpose far into this century. A 1 gigabit (1000Mbps) connection will ensure that any interaction with the Internet will be quick and easy. Television, films, cheap phone and video calls over the Internet, the ability to extend local mobile phone networks to cover black-spots, local security, telehealth and medicine applications - all will become possible. B4RN will be initially be providing the broadband connection and VoIP telephony, with further services to follow as the network rolls out over the coming years.
Barry Forde, B4RN Chief Executive, will explain the project and launch the share offer in the company to raise the necessary capital required over the next few months. Representatives from the first phase communities of Melling, Arkholme, Quernmore, Abbeystead, Wray, Tatham,
Roeburndale, Wennington and Caton with Littledale will be at the event as well as local dignitaries and celebrities.
B4RN is a community benefit company, owned by its shareholders. Income made will be re-invested in the service and spent within the communities the company serves. The shares are being made available under the EIS (Enterprise Investment Scheme) that offers 30% tax relief, with a minimum investment of £100 and maximum of £20,000.
B4RN hopes to attract the support of local, national and international investors, whilst remaining a truly community-run business, bringing fast, future-proof, sustainable Internet access to the rural uplands, for this generation and those to come, leaving a lasting legacy for the area.
NOTES TO EDITORS
1. B4RN has been more than three years in the planning and development stage. The B4RN project will bring a state of the art, fibre optic broadband connection to the rural communities long before most of the urban areas. Rural Lancashire plans to be a world leader in “hyperfast”.
2. Professor Barry Forde (B4RN Chief Executive) is a networking expert with many years experience of designing, building and operating high performance networks. He was responsible for the CLEO network which provides connectivity to over 1000 schools and public sector sites across Lancashire and Cumbria. Bios are available for Professor Forde and the Management team http://tinyurl.com/6tpdkmt
3. The full business plan is available on the website, along with details of the pricing and payment structure for local residents and businesses. http://tinyurl.com/895uvdx This includes bonuses of free install and connection for 12 months with a £1500 investment, three further free months for early bird investors, and payment in shares for involvement in the deployment of the project.
4. A target of 662 registrations of interest were required for a green light and this was passed in just three months. The project moves one step closer to implementation with the launch of the Share Issue. “The phased network will be built by the community over three years for the seven phases. Now we have passed our target of over 700 registrations of interest in investment and taking a service at £30/month for 1Gbps, we can proceed to raise the capital required for Phase 1,” said Barry Forde.
5. B4RN will initially provide internet and telephony with further services in the future. Each home will have a battery backup so telephony over the fibre means landline connections are no longer required.
6. Christine Conder, a farmer’s wife and rural broadband pioneer, who successfully dug and installed the first rural fibre cable to her farm in Wray in 2009, knows it can be done and sums up the enthusiasm and ethos of B4RN, “If we don’t do it ourselves then it will never get done, so B4RN is the answer, let’s all JFDI.”
6. Photos (to be accredited to B4RN) are available at http://www.flickr.com/photos/
Professor Barry Forde, Barry@B4RN.org.uk
Christine Conder, Chris@B4RN.org.uk
Lindsey Annison, Lindsey@B4RN.org.uk
Telephone: 01524 221588 or mobile: 07952 503253 / 07967 670759
JFDI (Just Farmers Doing IT)