More than 100 North Lancashire residents gathered in a field near Jubilee Tower at Quernmore on Saturday to make internet history. They were all members of the B4RN (Broadband for the Rural North) project, a community-led company which is about to install some of the fastest internet connections in the world into homes and businesses in the area. This is being made possible by the residents themselves who are not only investing in the company and paying for fibre cables to be connected to their premises, but are getting out their shovels and digging the trenches the cables will be laid in.

this is also featured on BBC Click (1minute into show) http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/click_online/9711150.stm

The first sod on the first trench was turned on Saturday by Councillor Paul Woodruff, Mayor of Lancaster (picture here http://www.flickr.com/photos/martyndews/7032990167/in/pool-b4rn). Also present at the dig was local MP for Lancaster and Fleetwood, Eric Ollerenshaw.

B4RN Chief Executive, Barry Forde, pictured here with the Mayor and Eric Ollernshaw MP http://www.flickr.com/photos/martyndews/7036052887/in/pool-1957083@N21/ praised the efforts of local people.

“It’s been an emotional day”, he said, “this has been a long time in planning, and it’s fantastic finally to see the day arrive, especially as so many have tried to tell us this couldn’t be done. People here know the big telecomms companies will never get round to providing them with decent internet connectivity, and it’s in the spirit of how people do things around here that they’ve just got on an done it themselves”.

If the digging goes to schedule, and the weather is kind, the first houses and businesses should be connected to the network by June. This initiative is only possible because local residents have committed time, labour and money in an area where other companies cannot reach. From then on, people in this part of North Lancashire will have access to internet connections which are 80 times faster than the UK current average. And all this, for a £150 connection fee and £30 a month line rental.

More information on B4RN can be found here http://www.b4rn.org.uk, and a video of the start of the dig is here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AjL4KBUJlXw

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For more information, contact Christine Conder, c.conder@b4rn.org.uk tel. 07952 503253 twitter.com/cyberdoyle

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