The farmer who built her own DIY 1GBPS broadband network

DIY Fibre InternetDIY Fibre Internet

Everybody knows there are still hundreds of 4G and broadband blackspots out there, especially in some of the more rural areas outside of London.

Internet providers are doing what they can, but one Lancashire farmer took matters into her own hands by building her very own superfast broadband.

Self-confessed “farmer’s wife” Chris Conder’s B4RN network provides Internet for 2,300 people in her local area. But even more impressively it maintains a staggering 1GBPS broadband speed. To put it in perspective, that’s 35 times faster than the UK average of just 28.9MBPS.

Unfortunately the network isn’t available in the capital, and you probably shouldn’t try building one at home either. The government might take issue if you start digging cable trenches in the street.

We’ve already got it pretty good here. BT announced their own roll out of 1GBPS FTTP broadband earlier this year. Away from London it’s more difficult to change provider or upgrade your broadband package if you’re not happy with the service. There was no choice in the beautiful but remote Luna Valley in Lancashire, and that’s how Chris’ B4RN network was born.

Here’s how she did it. Chris bought a kilometre of fibre-optic cable and used the farm’s tractor to dig a deep trench, connecting it to the nearest WiFi mast.

She told the BBC: “We dug it ourselves and we lit the cables ourselves, proving that ordinary people can do it. It wasn’t rocket science, it was three days of hard work.”

B4RN say they’ve now laid around 2,000 miles of cable for a number of local parishes. The company charges a £150 connection fee, with each household paying £30 per month.

Take note broadband providers: the crucial element is that the fibre-optic is connected directly to their customers’ property. The traditional method is to connect the cables to a nearby cabinet, which is then linked to each home with copper phone lines.

Here in London, many broadband providers offer similarly high speeds, but in reality this isn’t always what customers are receiving.

Speaking on her competition, Chris said: “The best way to make sure this country catches up is to support the alternative networks. Wherever there’s competition, BT will then up their game.”

She added: “We can’t do the whole country. BT and Virgin are good businesses. They are in it to make a profit, and that’s what businesses are supposed to do.”

About the Author

Jack Henry

Jack is a seasoned journalist across multiple industries. He writes predominantly on regulatory news at Broadband London.

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