Super-duper fast Broadband comes a step closer

Last summer we posted that we might be able to get hyper-fast broadband in the village thanks to a volunteer-led initiative called B4RN. Then it all went quiet and we feared the worst.

Since then, our small village has become something of a cause célèbre as B4RN and BT are both going ahead with competing plans to install fibreoptic cables into households, with B4RN offering speeds of 1,000 Mbps for subscribers. To have two providers offering super-fast connections seems greedy.

This surreal situation seems to be connected with the government BDUK grant which is on offer to organisations who connect rural reas where it wouldn't be commercially viable - the so-called 'last 10%'. The allocation of the grant for Dolphinholme is under dispute, with both BT and B4RN saying that they saw it first. We have even been mentioned in the IT press with headlines about BT and B4RN 'locking fibreoptic horns' in the Battle of Dolphinholme. It is fast becoming a test case with an added David and Goliath dimension.
B4RN volunteers at work in a nearby village

Meanwhile, B4RN has started digging near our house and laying their bright orange cables so we are optimistic that connection will go ahead soon. At present B4RN is probably winning local hearts and minds - after all, BT is one of those companies that everyone loves to hate. It will be interesting to see whether this translates into a sustainable income stream for B4RN. We'll certainly be at the front of the queue to pay our £30 per month and maybe we'll even be brave enough to jettison BT altogether and start using VOIP. We'll see...