Rural areas are usually at the end of league tables when it comes to broadband speeds and services, but a scheme in Lancashire is offering people the chance to ‘sponsor’ cable to help them get superfast broadband connections.
B4RN (Broadband For the Rural North) is a pioneering cooperative scheme to create a connectivity infrastructure in the North of England that can provide 1Gbps fibre optic broadband to eight parishes for just £30 per month.
The non-profit project, which will costs residents and business partners £1.86m, started offering shares in December and has raised the £360,000 needed to start the first phase of groundwork, with some of the digging being completed by local farmers.
Organisers felt the £100 minimum investment for shareholders was providing a barrier for those who wanted to support the cause, so to help generate capital for the next stage of work, B4RN are now offering people all over the UK the chance to “sponsor” a metre of their fibre optic cable.
Each sponsor will have their name written on the cable, which is then laid in the ground as part of the infrastructure, for just £5, with the money enabling another metre to be laid in their community network.
B4RN said of the initiative:
“We are about to lay another 500 metre stretch of the very fat duct next week going into the hub, so if you want your name on that act quickly. The smaller duct is being laid all the time, but the fat one is the best option because we can write your name much bigger!”
Every named metre will be photographed before it goes into the ground and displayed for posterity on the B4RN gallery. BT chief executive Ian Livingston and Ofcom chief executive Ed Richards were amongst the first names to be written in this groundbreaking project.
To sponsor a metre of B4RN’s cable, visit http://b4rn.org.uk/sponsor-a-metre.
(Image by B4RN)