About B4RN North

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 and the first customers went online in April 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.

About B4RN East Anglia

On 4th July 2017, Broadband for Rural Norfolk Ltd's shareholders voted to join B4RN as the first regional division of B4RN, becoming B4RN East Anglia.  See the associated press release.


The Numbers*

  • B4RN has over 3270 connected properties
  • B4RN is an equal opportunities employer with 21 staff and hundreds of volunteers
  • uptake of B4RN averages about 65% of all properties in the communities we’ve completed
  • local communities have invested £4.8m in B4RN’s shares and loans
  • B4RN has over 1200 shareholders

*figures updated June 2017


The People

In 2009, Chris Condor, Lindsey Annison and Barry Forde decided that the only way to get a fast, resilient, sustainable broadband connection in the rural North of the country, was to build the infrastructure themselves.  It had become clear that it was commercially nonviable for the incumbent suppliers.  Fortunately, Chris had many years experience of DIY building and maintaining fixed wireless and satellite broadband networks and is a pioneer in fibre self-build, while Barry is an industry leading UK specialist in networking, particularly wide area fibre networks so they had some idea of what was involved.  Lindsey Annison brought experience from other local community wireless mesh and fibre networks. Monica Lee brought management skills. They also knew the pent-up demand for fast broadband from farm owners and rural dwellers, and the determination of Northern communities when they put their mind to something!  The idea of Broadband for the Rural North, or B4RN for short, was born.

In 2015 both Barry and Chris were included on the Queen’s Honours list and awarded MBEs. They 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 Key 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 investors in shares and loans, with a further business development loan from the Esmeé Fairbairn Foundation.


Company Details

Broadband for the Rural North Ltd

Registration Number:  31352R

Registered Office: Station Yard, Melling, Carnforth, LA6 2QY


Head Office

Station Yard, Melling, Carnforth, LA6 2QY

Tel: 01524 555 887

Email: info@b4rn.org.uk


East Anglia Office

(post only): Suite 3, Hill Farm, Kirby Road, Kirby Bedon, Norwich, NR14 7DU

Tel: 01508 500 366

Email: info@b4rnorfolk.org.uk


Techdesk (customer support)

Tel: 015242 38499

Email: helpdesk@b4rn.org.uk


B4RNorfolk and Broadband for Rural Norfolk are trading names of B4RN in East Anglia


Society registration documents: FCA website


Company Directors as of June 2017:

Barry Forde (CEO)

Monica Lee (Company Secretary)

Chris Carr

Peter Hearne

Ian Thompson


East Anglia Core team:

Michael Davey (Regional Director, East Anglia)

David Evans

Karl Jermyn (East Anglia Secretary)

Other Key People


 

Broadband for the Rural North Ltd is incorporated under the Industrial and Provident Societies Act 1965 and regulated by the FCA.