"As a former resident of Hexham and now living in B4RN land (Arkholme, one of the first villages to go live on B4RN), can I give you in the Allen Valleys all possible encouragement with this.
The building of the system is fun, the system itself is great and the difference between BT (0.8 Mb, slower if it was raining) and B4RN (just recorded an upload of 920 Mb) is extraordinary.
We'd very much like to move back to Northumberland, but the broadband in rural areas would be a discouragement - to learn that you are linking with B4RN is very exciting!"
Tim in Arkholme
Anyone in the Allen Valleys from Coalcleugh and Allenheads to Whitefield and Langley can join the B4AV broadband network. See interactive map of coverage. There is a one-off installation charge of £150 and a monthly fee of £30. If you invest at least £1,500 then your one-off connection fee is waived. This system can provide landline telephone connection and in the home a mobile phone connection. So your BT phone line rental can be dispensed with saving the £18.
The B4AV system will be built so it can connect every property within the Allen Valleys using optical fibre directly to each house, rather than using the telephone lines. Using fibre like this gives a much better, faster and much more reliable service. The broadband service you would receive would be the best available anywhere in the UK.
With the help of local volunteers and landowners we establish viable routes and wayleaves, then lay small 16mm ducts in that area either by trench or mole-ploughing. Fibre optic cable is then fed down these ducts in a process called ‘blowing’.
We will need to site a number of ‘node’ cabinets in strategic places in the community, these are in custom built secure outdoor enclosures next to community buildings. These local nodes are always connected by at least two feeds into the wider network, offering resilience and continued service even if one of the feeds is interrupted.
Further 16mm ducts are installed around the community to a number of inconspicuously buried chambers in which we place junction boxes called ‘bullets’. From these bullets a very small 7mm duct is laid to each and every property requesting service. Once fibre is blown into this duct and its connections ‘spliced’, a property can go live at 1000Mbps!
Most of our ducts are laid deep under agricultural land, but we regularly license roadworks where necessary, cross railways, motorways, canals and have even crossed under the river Lune with Environment Agency approved directional drilling.
We can continue expanding the B4RN network to many times its current size with no compromise to the quality or speed of users’ connections. This is due to the amazing bandwidth capacity of fibre, and the professional, world class design of our network.
The B4RN network is built by local volunteers and landowners who know their community and the lie of the land. Each area that rises to the B4RN challenge has found it a wonderfully empowering and socially engaging opportunity. There’s nothing like building something for yourself and having that sense of pride and ownership
And it’s not all about digging holes, volunteers are needed for…
● informing each community and encouraging investment
● walking routes and agreeing way leaves with landowners
● coordinating site work between volunteers and landowners
● fieldwork of laying duct and installing chambers
● advising property owners and helping to install their house fittings
● providing basic accountancy and business skills
● baking for volunteers – our army marches on tea and cake!
The Allen Valleys is split in to communities and each has its own Community Champion to be a point of contact and a local coordinator.
Check your out who covers your area. Click here for contact details and location map.
The work has already started in creating a prospective user database and designing and mapping the network. But installation will only begin on meeting the initial investment target. Different areas of the valleys would get connected at different times, dependant on each community group and geography but we would expect that the whole system would be completed within one to two years.
As B4AV is part of the B4RN community co-operative any profits can only be used back in the community. So any profits would be reinvested in our communities for approved community schemes. Small village schools and places of worship are all offered a basic B4RN service for free.