Nether Wyresdale’s volunteer champion – Felicity Greenwood.

Another Lancashire community has gigabit broadband, enabled by B4RN, but thanks to the hard work and investment of local volunteers, and the support of government voucher funding.

Nether Wyresdale, on the edge of the Bowland fells,  went ‘live’ on the 7th January, with 49 new customers joining our hyperfast network.

A team of local contractors and volunteers began digging in desperation for better broadband in August last year. The core fibre was blown in December by ‘Frank the Blow’ and B4RN engineers.

Volunteers and staff – classed as critical workers during the coronavirus pandemic – worked safely to complete the installation. Fusing of customers commenced in December and will be completed this month.

“Immensely Rewarding”

Flick Greenwood, the local champion, is one of the new customers. She received her Member of the B4RN Empire (MBE) and Emtelle silver spade award. She’s pictured on the Snow Queen bridge over the hyperfast M6 motorway near J33. This landmark bridge carries the B4RN fibre broadband onwards to Scorton, where a new community is joining the hyperfast digital highway.

Her children are delighted with their new connection – from a single megabit between the family, they now have 1000 megabits to share.

Flick said: “I just thought I would do a bit of volunteering. Little did I know with the lockdown and furlough I needed a much better broadband connection. So in the end I JFDI with my community and now we have the best connection in the world.

Frank Brown, a village champion who migrated into being B4RN’s most prolific blower.

“The main thing that has amazed me is that everyone is telling me how much they have enjoyed it and how many people they now know. I myself have found it immensely rewarding and very challenging, but with tremendous support from all B4RN staff, especially Cath Halstead who really understood the process, planning and terrain.  Also the fantastic contractors, especially Steve Foster, Adam and Frank. Thanks also to other volunteer champions Allen Norris and Sam Uddin for their invaluable help and advice. To the community, landowners and investors, thank you, we did it together!”

“A Great Community Project”

One new B4RN customer – Liz Ward, who lives near Scorton village – says the unique way a B4RN project brings people together sets them apart from other ISPs: “B4RN has been a great community project to be part of. I’ve got to know more people in my community over the last 6 months than I have over the last 32 years that I’ve been in my home.

“If you turn up to a dig with a spade and a pair of wellies you’re welcomed with open arms. There has always been somebody to help out where needed. It’s been brilliant”

Liz added getting ready for B4RN wasn’t daunting: “It’s been very easy to prepare my home for the installation of the fibre. Digging a trench couldn’t have been easier. Our volunteer coordinator, Flick (pictured) and B4RN’s Jorj [Haston] helped me every step of the way – even helping out with the digging.

“As a result of this I’ve also been able to have electricity fed through the fibre ducting to my new electric gates! This wouldn’t have been possible without my newly dug trench.”

Tom Rigg, acting CEO of B4RN said: “Flick and the Nether Wyresdale team have achieved an awful lot in a very short time. This proves that very rural areas can be enabled to help themselves to create a gigabit fibre network. We are also grateful to the support from the Gigabit voucher scheme and the BDUK team.”