B4RN volunteer, Alison, patching in the first few customers.

People living and working in two East Anglia villages are now live on B4RN’s gigabit broadband network.

Customers in Burston and Shimpling can enjoy a symmetrical 1Gbps full fibre connection.

The local cabinet, in Burston, went ‘live’ on Friday (30th October).

It wouldn’t have been possible without the efforts of local volunteers, who’ve been especially busy recently installing routers.

B4RN staff have been crucial too, heading to Norfolk earlier in October to splice fibre while road and rail crossings were completed in the summer.

Local B4RN champions Jane and Brian Fishwick are awarded their MBE and spade award. For services to the community.

Local B4RN champion Jane Fishwick told us about the project: “It has been a long time coming but once we started the build it all happened very quickly.

“We broke ground on the 17th August 2020 and had some unbearably hot weather, reaching 33 degrees celcius. We had gangs of people out, some from adjoining villages, pulling out kilometres of ducting but a lot of the time it was the core group and our contractor Clive who did much of the work.

“In 10 weeks we estimate that we have laid 25-30km of ducting through mostly arable fields so timing was critical to trench between the crops coming out and the next crop being drilled, sometimes less than a 24 hour window! In East Anglia, we have huge fields with lots of drainage ditches requiring very substantial ditch pipes which is probably unique to our group of projects.

“We went from near drought conditions to waterlogged in a matter of 3 weeks, so conditions on this mostly clay soil became very difficult.

“However, 10 weeks on, about 100 properties have ducting to their curtilage, approximately 30 properties on this first phase are being connected immediately including the first pub in Norfolk, the Burston Crown, 10 businesses and the primary school.

“The joy of doing this project has been getting to know many more people in the villages and learning lots of new skills.

“We still have a lot more of the project to deliver, but with households and businesses using the service we hope that convincing people of the advantages will get a lot easier.”

The first speed test result from Burston! Using ethernet for the best results. (wifi tests are a lot lower than this due to the limitations wifi has)


Burston team

The Burston team completing their dig across the playing field to the cabinet. Very neat work with Clive and his trencher.

Volunteer Role of Honour (courtesy of Jane):

Lynn and Jim Howard: civils, splicing and organizing volunteers.
Brian Fishwick: wayleaves and contractors with Jim.
Chris Humphries: build (and has lots of gear!)
Alison Wakeham: mapping and wayleaves.
Me: General dog’s body!

If you would like to see more photos there is a facebook album, and if anyone has any nice photos please send them to us and we will add them in. Click here to view the pictures