Community owned high-speed rural broadband project

ORGANISERS of a community co-operative project to install high speed broadband to more than 1,300 farms and rural homes in north Lancashire, claim it offers hope for the final third of the UK left in the broadband slow lane.

The co-operative, B4RN, is a £1.8 million project and needs an initial commitment, by way of shares, of £750,000 before October 1, in order to get under way. People can invest from £100 to £1,500, but at the upper end of the scale the shares include free connection.

Public meetings in the eight rural parishes in the fells in and around the Lune valley begin next week.

Farmer’s wife and founder member of B4RN, Christine Conder, said key to the success of the project was for farmers to appreciate its benefits.

“The success of the project will depend on the support and engagement of the community,” she said.

“Rural areas are never going to get decent access, there is not enough funding, and any funding there is will go to rural market towns, not the farmers.  It’s amazing how many are sitting back waiting for BT to sort things, but we are still waiting for connections.

“While we know some farmers do not use the internet, many do and are as frustrated as anyone else by the slow speeds.”

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