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Caton’s ‘B4RN Village’ Build Begins

June 28th, 2021
Author: Mark Gray
Posted In: Latest news

Construction began w/c 28th June

People living in Caton Village will soon be able to enjoy gigabit broadband, thanks to local volunteers and B4RN.

The third project for B4RN’s village build programme, called ‘B4RN Village’, has started!

Caton Village is the latest area to benefit – a gigabit network to serve nearly a thousand properties will be built. This has already happened in nearby Halton, where dozens of customers now have hyperfast, full-fibre broadband.

People in Caton can sign up for gigabit broadband at b4rn.org.uk/getb4rn. If you’re stuck in a deal with another provider, you can take advantage of Connect+ (full details at b4rn.org.uk/connectplus).

The local B4RN group, made up of volunteers, has spent four years making this community-led project happen.

Local volunteer coordinator, Phil Hughes, said: “It is so exciting to see this Caton Village B4RN Project come to fruition after many years of dogged work by a core group of volunteers in the village. They had the vision of making Caton a full-fibre, hyperfast, future-proof connected village. The ‘traditional’ B4RN build had proved hard to deliver in a place like Caton, we have had “bumps in the road” over the years, and the ‘B4RN Village’ concept is a god send for us. This model ensures that every property, through the toby box, has the option of connecting to world beating broadband. We are also excited that this provision is coming through B4RN, a Community Benefit Society, that is NOT out to make profits, but serve the community.

“It is also exciting to see so many in the community now ‘stepping up’ as the project goes ahead, giving their time and skills, to make sure everyone who wants a B4RN connection in the village gets one. Even though we rely on properly trained, equipped, and registered contractors to do the ‘hard dig’ it is still, very much, a ‘by the community, for the community’ project. It cannot happen without the volunteers and a big thank you must go to all the volunteers who will see this to completion.”

Local volunteers being trained on garden digs and fitting house kits.

Meanwhile, the group took to Facebook to say: “The big dig has begun!

“Now is the time to get your garden dug and your house kit fitted (see bottom of this article).

“Please contact us if you need help or wish to volunteer to bring hyperfast broadband to every home in Caton.”

B4RN’s Streetworks Project Manager, Elaine Elrick, added: “Our construction team have landed in Caton and we will be working our way through the village over the summer months. I’m looking forward to working with Phil Hughes and the volunteer team and seeing their fibre broadband plans finally come to fruition.”

Local MP Cat Smith said: “I’m delighted the people of Caton will soon be able to enjoy the same services as people living in more urban areas. It’s absolutely critical that residents in rural areas have access to fast broadband so they can run their businesses, work from home, access services and provide children with online capability when so much of their education now relies on technology. Congratulations to B4RN and a big thank you to all the local volunteers.”

B4RN contractors will be using a narrow trenching, 100mm, dig model along the pavements and roads – dropping a Toby Box outside each property.

‘B4RN Village’ projects run alongside the more traditional rural builds. B4RN CEO, Michael Lee, said: “We have quite a number of largish villages, typically ~1000 properties, which we have skirted round in the past as our ‘across the fields and up the garden’ model doesn’t work there. Too many properties surrounded by roads.”

All works will be carried out within approved planning and streetworks applications. Pedestrian & property access will always be considered and diversions of the existing pathway around the construction works will be applied where necessary.


Your local group will be able to advise you about digging in ducting through your garden to your wall and about house kit installations. Phil Hughes is the local volunteer coordinator – Tel: 07796045796 or email: catonphil@gmail.com

Meanwhile, a list of Independent B4RN Approved Contractors who will be able to do the work can be found here.

A website with more information about the Caton Village work and the wider Caton & Brookhouse project can be found here.

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