– First East Anglian communities to benefit from B4RN’s hyperfast fibre-to-the-home –
– B4RN East Anglia seeking further community investment –

SCOLE, NORFOLK, UK (28th March 2018) - The villagers of Billingford, Thelveton, Thorpe Parva and Shimpling will be celebrating this Wednesday, when they finally see the Scole Community Centre being connected at 1000 Mbps to the world's fastest rural broadband1.

The community centre2 will also act as a demonstrator site where people can try the B4RN (Broadband for Rural North) service for themselves3.

The service is unlimited and at just £30 per month (including VAT and line rental) is one of the most competitive on the market as it is run by a not for profit Community Benefit Society.

Clive Blakesley, Chairman of Scole Community Centre, said, “When I was approached by B4RN and asked if I was interested in hosting the cabinet at the Community Centre, I realised the fantastic opportunity we had been offered. It has the potential to benefit not only the Community Centre and the groups that use it but the whole village, including local businesses and home workers.

"Now we have hyperfast broadband - unbelievably fast, something I’d never have thought was possible. Who would have thought a group of volunteers could build their own broadband network? I would like to thank everyone who has been involved in making this happen. Amazing well done everyone!”

B4RN East Anglia held its first public meeting in the area around Scole in March 2017, becoming a regional division of B4RN in July of the same year. So far in 2018, the local community has installed approximately seven kilometres of duct with the help of B4RN's expert Engineers.

B4RN East Anglia Regional Director, David Evans, added: "A lot of hard work has gone into this day from bringing together our volunteer network, to raising funds and digging around fields to lay the duct, but it is not rocket science – 15 volunteers and a few B4RN Engineers completed the civil works in about 10 working days spread over a couple of months. In return for that hard work we are now part of one of the most modern and fastest rural broadband networks in the world.

“The B4RN pure fibre network brings the latest fibre technology directly into people’s homes using light to transmit the signal and not outdated electrical impulses over unreliable old cable networks. The key for rural broadband is not just connecting fast fibre to the ageing copper and aluminium cables (known as Fibre To The Cabinet, or FTTC), as this dramatically slows the speed and does nothing to prevent the constant breaks caused by the current ancient infrastructure. The answer is to bring a fast, reliable, fibre connection to each property (known as Fibre To The Home, or FTTH), this is what the B4RN community is doing.”

B4RN East Anglia is now well progressed with raising investment from residents for the service to Billingford, Upper Street, Thelveton and Shimpling. However, the organisation is seeking further investment from this community to fully cover the materials costs, as well as converting outstanding pledges into investments.

Fellow B4RN East Anglia Regional Director, Michael Davey, said “Gissing, Tivetshalls and Thwaite are expected to be the next communities to extend the B4RN network to them – we are able to announce today that Gissing and Tivetshalls have been mapped and costed and are now additionally seeking investment from their respective communities.”

B4RN only extends its network into communities where they’re wanted, as each community that invites B4RN in needs to raise the investment to cover the work and materials required for their area’s installation. In addition, the community needs to provide the volunteer labour to carry out most of the work to dig trenches, lay cables across fields and under roads and connect to B4RN’s core network. So, to where the B4RN East Anglia network expands from here is up to the local communities.


[1]  costing households only £30 per month (including VAT). The connection between the router and B4RN's core network is 1000 Mbps - between 40 and 1000 times faster than most residents in Norfolk and Suffolk experience today and easily upgradeable to 10x or 100x that speed when needed in the future, making it truly future proof.
[2]  IP21 4EA
[3]  Subject to availability of the centre.

Notes to editors

About B4RN:
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 East Anglia division came into being on 4th July 2017.

●       B4RN’s existing network covers an area of Lancashire, Cumbria and Yorkshire Dales that is bigger than the area inside the M25
●       B4RN provides service to 100% of the properties in the areas it operates - no ifs, no buts, no-ones too far away or too expensive – that’s the difference between a community project and a commercial one.  Because it’s a community project, we are not going to leave anybody out
●       B4RN have over 4200 subscribers and are currently adding new properties at a rate of 150 per month
●       B4RN employ 24 full-time and part-time staff, mainly in Melling, Lancashire.  They have hundreds of volunteers
●       All of the East Anglia team are unpaid volunteers

Social Enterprises:
●       Social Enterprises marry the social agenda of a Charity with the business acumen of a Corporation
●       The Social Value Act, which came into force in January 2013, requires public bodies, including councils, to consider choosing providers based on the social value created in an area and not on cost alone
●       According to Government data, approximately 70,000 social enterprises in the UK employ almost a million people and contribute £18.5 billion to the UK economy (based upon 2012 Small Business Survey, 2013)
●       Some of the best-known Social Enterprises include the Co-Op, Divine chocolates, Cafédirect, the Eden Project and Jamie Oliver's restaurant, Fifteen, and cover almost every product and service sector from Banking and Retail to Energy and Telecoms.

●       Broadband speeds are measured in megabits per second, abbreviated as Mbps or Mb/s; or alternatively in Gigabits per second, abbreviated as Gbps or Gb/s
●       1000 Mb/s is the same as 1 Gb/s
●       B4RN’s hyperfast network, with 1000Mb/s connectivity, is typically 40 to 400 times faster than the basic broadband or superfast broadband typically found in rural areas
●       Hyperfast is a technical term that means typical throughput is greater than 500 Mb/s
●       Superfast describes download speeds of up to 25 Mb/s in the UK
●       While most providers focus on download speeds, ping times, jitter and upload speeds are just as important for modern Internet communications including video calling, voice calling and watching TV over the broadband connection.

For B4RN East Anglia media enquiries, please contact:
Katrina Suppiah, Publicite Ltd
020 8543 6582