Our volunteers have continued to work relentlessly in all types of weather, and we have had a lot of it in the last few weeks! The focus has been on helping owners to connect as many homes and businesses as possible to give them the live B4RN service. We have particularly concentrated on landowners to repay them for their granting of wayleave. We try to install services to all the homes supplied by a chamber in order to reduce the number of visits to it. Work near homes is time-consuming because of the number of utilities such as electricity and telephone cables and water pipes so we often have to hand-dig to expose them before we can use machinery to lay the duct. Although volunteers will help to get services to their boundary, householders are responsible for laying across their own land. If you need guidance on the best route to take, please contact your local champion (see contact details below).
B4RN technicians (often with the help of volunteers to speed up their work) have blown fibre through all the network east of New Hutton Lane and Kinn Road but have yet to join the fibres in the chambers to make the network and the cabinet at New Hutton Institute live. They have also started to blow fibre along the main trunk route from the Auction Mart to Gatebeck crossroads, a line which has been completed for a long time. At one house it was found that duct laid on the ground surface under decking had been eaten by rats. The lesson for homeowners is that duct should not be in such a position; it should be buried or attached to house walls where rodents cannot reach it. Similarly, ducts and, more importantly, fibre cables in cavity walls and in lofts should be protected in tubing resistant to mice. However, the blowing team also found a gnawed section under the ground in a field in Preston Patrick. This was the first time they had ever come across such an occurrence.
Our project is now known internationally. Australian Channel 9 TV News cameramen filmed volunteers working near Gatebeck. We were asked to be at a muddy site and were able to provide it. The film was broadcast nationally as part of comment about the Australian government’s project to create a national superfast network. It can be seen here. Jokingly, B4SW have been asked to lay fibre in Australia and New Zealand! More locally, there is now an active group in Preston Richard which is going to connect to our network as are networks in Stainton, Docker, Lambrigg and Killington.
The number of expressions of interest seems to have stabilised at 466 (97% of the total). In New Hutton almost 100% (150) have said they want to connect and the figures for Old Hutton & Holmescales (OHH) are 96% (173) and for Preston Patrick (PP) 92% (143). B4RN reported that on the 11th December there were 158 homes and businesses with services or completed connections. The detailed figures were: OHH – 96 services and 25 connections; PP – 26 services and 11 connections; New Hutton – none yet because fibres had to be spliced in chambers. Investments continue to trickle in and are most welcome. £363,950 is the current total. If you want to invest, please do contact any of the people listed below.
Finally, we wish to thank all the volunteers, landowners, people who have brought tea and cake and everyone else who has helped us make such incredible progress in 2017. We hope you have a happy and prosperous new year and look forward to your continued help to complete our massive community project.
If you have any questions, do please get in touch.