Accounts & Billing
The minimum period of contract is one year from your live date, but there is currently no early exit penalty.
B4RN will not try to tie you in to a long-term deal. After one year, the contract will automatically renew for a one-month period on a rolling monthly basis. You will carry on paying the same Service Charge.
By Direct Debit. We use a third party called GoCardless Ltd to process our direct debits. GoCardless Ltd is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority as an Authorised Payment Institution and these transactions are fully covered by the Direct Debit Guarantee.
We will email you a link to set this up once you are connected.
Please note: If the Direct Debit has not been set up within seven days of receiving the welcome email and connection, B4RN will contact you to see what the problem is. If it cannot be resolved, we reserve the right to terminate the service.
Your contract can be terminated by giving B4RN one month’s notice in writing.
Please note: All equipment, including the router, remains property of B4RN.
Your usage must be in line with B4RN's Acceptable Use Policy and Terms & Conditions.
The start and end dates are fixed by the date when the shares are ‘issued’ by B4RN, which is the date on your Share Certificate.
Interest is paid on the 31st March each year.
"Yes – in effect. In practice – all end of year interest is currently paid in shares, and all investors have a 2-month window in which they can withdraw this interest as cash. An email is sent out with the interest statement to this effect. Once that two-month window closes the ‘interest’ shares revert to ‘normal’ shares and are treated as such. The Board of Directors can, at their discretion, decide to pay all interest as cash, and so this situation may change in the future
Please note that your investment is intended for the B4RN community and does not guarantee the development of a specific project. Although B4RN will use its best endeavours to allocate your shares according to your preference, it reserves the right to direct your investment to develop the wider network.
Your shares are held in B4RN, and not formally linked to any project. However, we will do our best to direct your investment towards a project (if you choose to name one). When there is enough money for that project, the money will go towards other projects.
From Year 4 onwards investors may apply to withdraw their investment. B4RN puts aside an amount each year to fund these withdrawals, however the amount available will be subject to the Society’s trading position and will be at the discretion of the Directors, so there is no guarantee that there will be sufficient funds put aside in a particular year to meet all demands for withdrawal. First priority will be given to those investors wishing to withdraw the interest payments they have received in the year. These will always be paid if requested. Any remaining requests will be handled on a first come, first served basis until the withdrawals fund is exhausted.
We have a provision in the rules that we set aside a pot of money each year to be available if shareholders wish to withdraw their shares once their 3 years is up. At present this is set at 5% of the capital, and we have roughly 2% of shares being withdrawn within a year. If there were ever to be lots of requests for withdrawal, then we would pay requests for end of year interest on the capital first, and then first-come first-served until the 5% limit is reached.
If a shareholder buys 1500 shares in a block then they become eligible for a free connection (normally £60) for their house, or they can nominate someone else’s house – however, this must be applied for before the property gets a live connection. For example, they can’t be connected for a month, then buy the shares and retrospectively ask for the cost of their connection to be refunded.
The interest is paid gross. You will receive an interest statement at the end of the year and it is your responsibility to pay tax on it if required. At present we pay interest at 5% so on an investment of £1500 the shareholder will receive £75 gross interest per year.
We do not give out financial advice – please contact your financial advisor if you need more details about the payment of tax.
BDUK (Building Digital UK) is an executive agency which is sponsored by DSIT (the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology), which was formerly known as DCMS (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport). BDUK administer the Project Gigabit voucher scheme and issue the voucher funding.
B4RN projects are funded by a combination of investment and voucher funding so we try to claim a voucher wherever possible towards the cost of our projects.
When you enter your details into the B4RN website, you are submitting a request for service. We will then apply for a voucher on your behalf as the supplier if your address is within one of our project areas and your property is eligible for a voucher.
You will receive a validation email from BDUK when your voucher has been requested. This may not happen for a while after you submit your request for service - as the vouchers are valid for a period of 12 months, we wait to request them until the work is progressing in your area. You will receive another validation email when you have live service and your voucher has been claimed.
You will be asked to provide evidence to show that you are trading from the address which you are claiming a voucher for. If you are working from home, as an employee of a company, you will not be eligible for a business voucher.
When a voucher is requested or claimed, you have 28 days to validate the voucher by clicking on the link in the email from BDUK. For requested vouchers, we can usually re-request them if they expire because they haven’t been validated by a customer. When a voucher is claimed however, the funding will be lost forever if you do not complete the validation within 28 days so this is when we may ask for help to contact the customer from our local groups.
If the voucher is residential, it will move to ‘issued’ as soon as it is validated- an ‘issued’ voucher means that the property is then ready to be connected. For business vouchers, BDUK will check any evidence that has been uploaded as part of the validation process so they will take longer to progress. If BDUK require any further information/ evidence, they will contact the Voucher Team and we will then contact you by email- these vouchers will be marked as ‘disputed’ until they have all the information that they need.
There can be several reasons why a property may not be eligible for a voucher- if it does not have a UPRN (see below) or there are issues with how the UPRN is classified, if it has already received public funding towards a Gigabit capable connection or if data shows that the property can already receive a broadband speed of more than 100mbps.
If there is a doubt regarding a property already having received public funding, we can confirm if this is the case by contacting the local council. If there is a doubt regarding the speed, we will require evidence from the customer to challenge this- BDUK will accept emails or chat transcripts from a supplier which confirms that a property cannot have fibre or cannot receive speeds of over 100mbps. For UPRN issues we will usually contact the customer directly.
The UPRN is the Unique Property Reference Number which is allocated to every building in Great Britain. In order to be eligible for a voucher, the UPRN must be classified as ‘occupied/ in use’, or an address will not be listed on the DCMS website. For any properties that are not on the BDUK site, we will contact the customer asking them to please contact their local planning authority.
B4RN projects are funded by a combination of investment and voucher funding. We are not able to request vouchers retrospectively after a customer has been taken live. If we connect someone with a requested voucher and they do not click the link to validate the claim, the voucher value will be lost as we will not be able to re- request it later. Also, for business vouchers, when it moves to ‘issued’ we know that the evidence has been accepted and the voucher has progressed successfully.
No - you can send details to the Voucher Team at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will need to know the business name and whether you are a sole trader/ partnership/ limited company.
BDUK will require evidence from a third party which includes the business name and the address that you are claiming the voucher for. This can be a utility bill or a recent business bank statement. For sole traders, they will also ask to see confirmation of the UTR (Unique Tax Reference) number on an official document or screenshot from HMRC. They will also accept a VAT number where applicable for partnerships.
If you would prefer to send your evidence directly to BDUK, please contact us at email@example.com and we will be able to provide you with the email address and also the voucher reference that you need to quote to ensure that the information is linked to your application.
Unfortunately, a voucher cannot be transferred to another beneficiary or property so the voucher will have to be cancelled. If the new property owner wants to take service, they should submit a request via our website and we will request a new voucher in their name.
B4RN customers do not pay VAT.
Usually, BDUK will only accept one voucher application per person or per business however, there are a couple of exceptions. If a property has a tenant, the voucher should be requested in their name as they will be the person using the service. For vacant rental properties, or tenanted properties where the lease is due to end shortly, the landlord can apply even if they already have another request in their name. This rule also applies to the owners of holiday lets.
If a voucher is waiting to be linked to a topology then unfortunately it will not be visible on the CRM. Any of these requests are passed to the planners who can allocate the topology but if you have any specific queries, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. We can also be contacted by telephone on 01524 958 370.
Unfortunately, churches and schools are not usually eligible for vouchers. Only small, independent churches are eligible.
PRP stands for Pre-Registered Package. Before we can request any vouchers, our projects (or PRPs) must be submitted to BDUK for their approval. As part of the process, a maximum level of voucher funding that can be claimed will be agreed and this is known as the PRP cap. The cap is different for every project as it is based on the costs involved for an individual area. To be eligible for a voucher, a property/ postcode must be included within the PRP.
When we have been paid the maximum amount of voucher funding that we can claim for a project, we will then be able to connect all remaining properties without vouchers.
To check where your local B4RN project is up to, simply re-enter your postcode in our postcode checker.
A contractor or trained volunteers from your local B4RN group will work with you and carry out your garden dig.
Orange ducting will be laid under your garden/drive/grounds. It will change to UV-proof black ducting when it comes above ground. That runs up the wall to a small property entry box called a CCE (Customer Connection Enclosure)
A small hole will be drilled through your property wall and a piece of white ducting fed through to an FWO (Fibre Wall Outlet). Again, this work will be done by a contractor or trained members of your local volunteer group.
B4RN engineers will then be able to install the B4RN router.
Much will be determined by the route by which fibre has entered the property. For example, it is easier to run ducting to the wall with a flowerbed rather than the wall with tarmac or concrete. Ideally, the router will go in the room where you use the internet the most so that Wi-Fi can be used to maximum effect.
Any work required to place the router beyond a convenient location (for example, routing white ducting under floors or through a loft) will be down to the property owner.
The router needs power so should be near a socket. It may also be handy to have it near a telephone socket for those who wish to put their entire home phone system onto VoIP.
You must have less than 12 months left on your contract with your existing broadband supplier.
You can not have taken out a contract with your existing broadband supplier in the last three months.
You must provide proof of your existing contract and its expiry date.
Connect+ requests must be made and approved before your B4RN service is made live.
Remember, you’ll still have to pay your one-off £60 connection fee.
The best time to apply for Connect+ is when your property is nearing being connected – for example, if your garden dig is done and the house kit has been installed.
Connect+ requests must be made and approved before your B4RN service is made live.
Yes. Connect+ is intended to help people bring forward getting their B4RN connection if they have chosen to delay service until their contract with their existing broadband provider ends.
No. Existing customers should have applied for Connect+ at the time they connected. The offer of Connect+ cannot be backdated.
Yes. The B4RN full fibre network is completely separate from other providers.
No. The B4RN full fibre network is completely independent from other providers, meaning it can run alongside your existing broadband.
Yes. You can keep your landline as it is, if you wish.
Some people prefer to switch to VoIP – a way to make and receive phone calls over the internet. You can still keep your phone number if you decide to do that.
Yes. If you invest £1,500 in a single transaction you can still get the cost of your connection fee (£60) waived.
Applying for Connect+ does not affect that offer.
No. The offer of service at the discounted monthly rate will only apply from after you apply for Connect+.
Most people have an email address which is not tied to an Internet Service Provider (for example, a Gmail or Outlook address). However, some people took up email addresses with their ISP when they signed up to a package with them.
What happens when you are ready to cancel your contract differs, depending on the provider. Some will completely delete the email account while others let you keep it – though they may charge a fee.
There are lots of reasons why a user may want additional IP addresses, especially businesses.
B4RN will judge requests for additional IP allocations on a case by case basis. Due to global limits of the IPv4 address space remaining, B4RN must ensure that requests for additional IP addresses are reasonable, and that no possible alternative solutions can be recommended, such as IPv6. In order to supply additional IP addresses we have to justify our address blocks to RIPE (the Regional Internet Registry for Europe) – who will want to see the case for assigning them.
IPv4 addresses are nearly exhausted, meaning if a user wants a block we might have to assign IPv6 numbering. The B4RN network supports both protocol stacks.
An Ofcom report published in 2022 said the average download speed for rural properties with an ADSL connection (that’s copper cables all the way from the exchange to the property) was just 6Mbps. The same report said the average download speed for rural properties with an FTTC connections (that’s fibre to the street cabinet, but copper to the property) was 50Mbps.
B4RN’s full fibre gold standard gigabit network is 1,000Mbps download (and upload too). Respectively, that’s 166x faster for rural properties with ADSL; and nearly 20x faster for rural properties with FTTC.
Customers may wish to invest in a battery pack back up called a UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply). Without one, your router and VoIP phone (if you have one) will not work, meaning you will lose your internet connection and, possibly, your telephone service.
There are PDF guides about UPS on our Resources page.