Community project will bring up to 1 Gbits/sec to residents and businesses
A community project in north Lancashire will bring residents of eight parishes some of the highest broadband speeds in the UK.
The B4RN (Broadband for the Rural North) initiative is unusual in the way it will involve all the people in the area. They will be buying, and in many cases personally laying the fibre connections straight to the home, so that every property in the area will be able to get a 1Gbits/sec connection.
Once the network is in place, people can sign up for the 1Gbits/sec service, which will cost £30 a month, plus a one-off installation fee of £150. As the organisers explained this is very competitive with other internet service providers and people won't have the added cost of paying for a separate landline.
The organisers explained to Computeractive that a significant part of the anticipated £1.86m for the first phase of the project to connect the fibre optic network to 1,322 homes and businesses by 2012 can be offset.
Residents will carry out the labour, digging the trenches, blowing the fibre through the ducts and splicing the connections to their and if they wish neighbours' homes. For this they receive a ‘wage' in the form of shares in the new ISP. It also means that they do not have to pay the installation fee.
Chris Conder, one of the organisers of the project said: "Laying the fibre is not rocket science. I am a farmer's wife and have already laid fibre to properties near me.
"We are also giving training to people to connect the fibre to the home and it also means that we will be self sustaining. If any repairs are needed we can do these ourselves."
As well as bringing some of the fastest broadband connections to the communities in the area, the project will have other benefits. The aim is to create local jobs and new skills.
For example there will be times when local firms can bid for contracts to dig up roads when and where needed so that the fibre can be laid or repairs made. It is also hoped the 1Gbits/sec service will attract companies into the area.
The project will also bring benefits to the community by giving people in the parishes the chance to own shares in the internet service provider (ISP)
Because enough people in the area have registered their interest in getting the broadband services, the organisers of B4RN anticipate that the first fibre will be installed in January next year.
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