The World’s Fastest Rural Broadband
B4RN is a professionally designed fibre optic broadband network, registered as a non-profit community benefit society, and run by a dedicated local team with the support of landowners and volunteers. We offer 1,000Mbps FTTH broadband to every property in our coverage areas, costing households only £30 per month.
Broadband for the Rural North Ltd or ‘B4RN’ was launched in December 2011 by a local volunteer group led by industry expert Barry Forde. Registered as a community benefit society with the FSA (under the Industrial and Provident Societies Act 1965) it can never be bought by a commercial operator and its profits can only be distributed to the community.
The company’s initial share offering raised hundreds of thousands of pounds from the local community and the first ground was broken in Quernmore in March 2012. Within months B4RN’s affordable, community focused model won it the ISPA’s ‘Internet Hero’ award. By 2015 we had 1000 properties connected and received royal recognition with a visit from HRH The Prince of Wales. We are regularly used as a leading exemplar, by national TV and press, of what is possible both in terms of gigabit fibre and an empowered rural community.
- B4RN has over 5000 connected properties
- B4RN is an equal opportunities employer with over 30 staff and hundreds of dedicated volunteers
- Uptake of B4RN averages about 65% of all properties in the communities we’ve completed
- Local communities have invested over £5m in B4RN
- B4RN has over 2300 shareholders
*figures updated March 2019
Barry Forde’s background as an industry leading UK specialist in networking, particularly wide area fibre networks, means B4RN is professionally designed to world class standards; fast, resilient, expandable and futureproof. Chris Conder and Lindsey Annison as founding members of the team brought experience from other local community wireless mesh and fibre networks. Monica Lee brought management skills, and so B4RN was born. In 2015 both Barry and Chris were included on the Queen’s Honours list and awarded MBEs. We have been joined by several other dedicated team members with a diverse range of skills who comprise the B4RN team. Read more about their background on the People page.
We are incredibly proud that B4RN is driven and built by local volunteers with invaluable support from landowners and farmers. We are not public sector funded – instead we rely almost entirely on local investment into B4RN.
To find out if B4RN is available in your area please head over to our Get B4RN page and simply enter your postcode. Instructions will follow about how to register and subscribe to service. If B4RN hasn’t reached your area yet, then remember we are driven by local volunteers, so if you want to get connected please read about how your community can make it happen.
At 1000Mbps (1Gbps) our standard gigabit service is hundreds of times faster than our average competitor. This means that every member of your household or business can use fast broadband simultaneously without frustration. Not many people need 1Gbps broadband just now, but you can rest assured B4RN will be able to exploit whatever the Internet requires, well into the future. You can even have an upgrade to 10Gbps but we’ve yet to find anyone who would know what to do with that!
B4RN broadband offers unlimited bandwidth (the amount you can download or upload) whereas other broadband providers often impose a limit and charge extra if you use too much. This is great for bandwidth hungry use such as streaming Radio, TV and films on services like BBC iPlayer and Netflix.
Unlike slower ‘superfast’ broadband providers we don’t use any overhead copper landlines – all our ducts are buried. Water ingress doesn’t affect our fibre and nor do high winds. So next time there’s a storm you don’t need to worry about losing your connection!
No one in our area can offer a service anything like B4RN. Even slower ‘superfast’ broadband providers struggle to offer prices that match ours because they still require you to pay line rental. Once you have B4RN installed, you can dispense with your landline and use your B4RN connection for an Internet based telephone service (third party call charges apply).
We don’t have 24 hour call centres all over the world, but we do keep office hours in Melling with caring, knowledgeable staff (Helpdesk tel: 01524 238499 email: [email protected]). Our own technical teams who build and support the entire network have a next-day response policy for anyone with service issues, and a 24/7 response for core network faults.