Today Geo Networks Ltd (“Geo”), a leading fibre network provider, announced a ground-breaking project with Broadband for the Rural North (B4RN, pronounced barn), a not-for-profit, community-led organisation. Geo will support B4RN in delivering world class internet services to rural areas, such as Lancashire’s the Forest of Bowland and the Lune Valley. Geo will provide vital dark fibre which will link B4RN’s local distribution network to a national peering centre at Manchester’s Telecity, enabling superfast internet speeds of 1 Gigabit for homes and businesses in the Lancashire region (now, could someone remind me just how fast BT’s ‘superfast’ broadband is alleged to be? Ed. ).
B4RN was created to bring superfast broadband to the deepest rural parts of the UK; specifically the last 10% – the areas unable to benefit from current Government broadband schemes. With the first phase of the roll out scheduled for the beginning of August this year, this project will eventually enable 2,500 properties, across 350 square km of Lancashire to access broadband at speeds which are faster than most commercial ISPs can offer anywhere in the UK. Geo’s fibre link to Telecity ensures high capacity and high availability. It removes the bottlenecks traditionally associated with shared service offerings to guarantee speed and efficiency of internet services to B4RN’s local distribution network.
So far B4RN has not received any Government funding and the money for this £1.86 million project is being raised by the local community who have bought shares in the organisation or pledged support. The project currently has around half of the funding required to complete the planned roll-out. Furthermore, the ‘last mile’ is being delivered via trenches dug by the locals themselves. As a testament to the ingenuity of the project, B4RN was recognised by the Internet Service Providers Association (ISPA), when it was selected as the latest ‘Internet Hero’ of the year.