A trained volunteer installs a house kit.

Kirkoswald’s B4RN gigabit full fibre broadband network has gone live!

People in the parish can now enjoy B4RN thanks to hard graft by local volunteers, working alongside our contractors and staff.

Locals went ‘live’ on Tuesday 28th June, with the lights coming on connected customers’ routers.

This is the culmination of months of dogged work for the local volunteer B4RN group. They have given their time and skills to make sure everyone who wants a B4RN connection in Kirkoswald gets one.

Volunteer Sue Quinn said: “It is hard to believe that after months of wishing and planning we are finally going live.  This will make such a difference to all our parish, but especially the more remote farms and houses who had no connection and no hope of getting one from anyone else but B4RN.”

Parkhead resident Wendy Smith is delighted with the B4RN service: “We are delighted with our new internet connection. It is so fast! Before we had it installed it was taking 24 hours to download an hour long programme. Last night, it took 5 seconds!”

B4RN’s Community Engagement and Development Officer, Stan Jenkins, said: “I would like to give a massive ‘thank you’ to our volunteers and landowners across Kirkoswald, Renwick, and neighbouring hamlets without whom this project would not have happened.

“A special mention must go to Brian Smythe, Sue Quinn and Jenny Ryan for their support, their engagement with their local communities and their continuous but gentle pressure on B4RN personnel to keep the project on track and ahead of schedule.  They have continued to give their support despite significant personal challenges, working tirelessly to ensure every homeowner is kept up-to-date along with providing advice and helping complete house installations.”

Local MP Neil Hudson has been a long-time B4RN advocate. He said: “I’ve been working with the local community, working with B4RN, and putting pressure on government to secure the gigabit voucher scheme. This is living proof we are getting to the really rural areas.”

Dr. Hudson also took time to recognise the volunteers: “These are community champions, people in their own time volunteering and getting together, this is community at its best. The pandemic brought into sharp relief the importance of being connected with each other.”

The project started in the community immediately after the current Government voucher scheme was announced in June 2020 and the community steering group was formed. Then in September, B4RN was selected, by the Parish Council and the steering group, as the best available supplier to work with on the basis of performance and cost. The community team negotiated wayleave agreements with the landowners and encouraged the community to sign up to the voucher scheme.

This work enabled B4RN to go ahead with the Kirkoswald project, their first in the Eden Valley. 68km of ducting will bring B4RN’s gigabit full fibre broadband network to 458 properties. Work by the main contractors began in October 2021.

People can sign up for B4RN broadband at b4rn.org.uk/getb4rn. If you are stuck in a deal with another provider, you can take advantage of Connect+ (full details at b4rn.org.uk/connectplus).