(L-R) CEO Michael Lee, B4RN stalwart Bruce Alexander, former CEO Barry Forde

B4RN’s awards trophies are going on tour!

The INCA and ISPA gongs will travel round to the volunteers, champions and communities who’ve got the job done over the last decade.

First stop was Quernmore, where B4RN CEO Michael Lee waved the awards off to Bruce Alexander, who was involved with B4RN from the start.

Meeting at the first cabinet to have live customers, Bruce said: “When we pressed the button to ‘go’ we decided we’d do properties in two areas and one was Quernmore because we had a break out to the GEO [now ZAYO]. We had contractors down here and a merry band of volunteers. With a lot of help and learning from our suppliers we got fibre in and we got properties connected.

“I was connected as customer number 3! So that’s my claim to fame! Nowadays in Quernmore we’ve probably got 80% of properties on.”

Bruce added they were determined to show rural communities could do it for themselves: “It was almost as if we had a point to prove. We were pretty much just on dial-up! At that stage we were selling a dream. We were asking investors to take a bit of a punt. After we got the first customers up and live we then had a product and it was easier.

“We also managed to get a fair bit of media attention. We were on The One Show, Countryfile, Northwest Tonight. It was fun being involved in the beginning.”

A digging, blowing and fusing day in Quernmore, 2013.