B4MS & B4RN Gigabit fibre broadband
Until fairly recently, only a small number of properties in Selside had an acceptable broadband service, if they were close enough to a BT fibre cabinet, or had line of sight to the microwave mast on Scout Scar. Then in 2018, thanks to the creation of B4MS (Broadband for Mint & Sprint), led by Selside resident Dan Robinson, we were enthused. Volunteers were trained and B4RN was brought in, initially raising funding by selling shares. Within a year the Selside Community was enjoying world leading Gigabit Fibre Broadband to every property in tyhe community who wanted it.
What is B4RN?
B4RN (Broadband for the Rural North) is a not-for-profit, registered, Community Benefit Society, based just over the county border in Melling, Lancashire. B4RN works with rural communities to install professionally designed fibre-optic broadband networks. Their rural community based projects provide 1000Mbs, FTTH (Fibre to the Home), also known as FTTP (Fibre to the Property) broadband, to every property, at an affordable monthly cost.
How do we now get it?
All queries can be answered by visiting B4RN's website b4rn.org.uk, which also provides contact details for any further enquiries.
Much has changed since people in Selside first signed-up to the scheme back in 2018. B4MS's work is completed, government grant money has replaced share funding, and contractors are widely employed alongside direct labour in place of volunteers. B4RN itself is growing exponentially, with many more full-time, professional staff, including project managers and coordinators overseeing entire projects, requiring only the assistance of one or more volunteers liaising within the community.
Installing FTTH / FTTP broadband is very expensive, but made affordable by B4RN's not-for-profit status, freely granted wayleaves, economy of scale in connecting entire communities in a single effort AND then substantially paid for by government grant funding targeted at specific rural areas. "Gigabit Voucher Scheme" grant money (£1500 per Residential property or £3000 per farm/small business) substantially paid for each Selside property connected and taking service within the life of the B4MS project, but this grant funding, for our area, is expected to dry up in early 2021. The net cost of new connections requested beyond 2020 is very dependent on whether other sources of grant funding become available. Otherwise B4RN will charge their full, commercial rate.
This gallery shows some of the work that went on in the community to get Selside connected. The community owes a huge debt to Dan Robinson and a volunteer team he led under the name B4MS [Broadband for the Mint and Sprint], who connected Longsleddale and Selside properties in a record fast time.