About the original B4RN project

In 2009, Chris Condor, Lindsey Annison and Barry Forde decided that the only way to get a fast, resilient, sustainable broadband connection in the rural North of the country, was to build the infrastructure themselves.  It had become clear that it was commercially nonviable for the incumbent suppliers.  Fortunately, Chris had many years experience of DIY building and maintaining fixed wireless and satellite broadband networks and is a pioneer in fibre self-build, while Barry is a networking expert with many years experience in designing, building and operating high-performance networks so they had some idea of what was involved.  They also knew the pent-up demand for fast broadband from farm owners and rural dwellers, and the determination of Northern communities when they put their mind to something!  The idea of Broadband for the Rural North, or B4RN for short, was born.

The company was registered in August 2011, as a Community Benefit Society (a kind of co-operative).  This means that there is an asset lock - the infrastructure the community builds will stay with the community and the company is run for the benefit of the community, not shareholders.  The project was launched in December 2011 and the first customers went online in April 2012.  Four short years later, the eight parishes have expanded to 41 (and counting), with over 3500 households connected, averaging 65% uptake in each parish and as much as 95% in some parishes.

About B4RN East Anglia

On 4th July 2017, Broadband for Rural Norfolk Ltd's shareholders voted to join B4RN as the first regional division of B4RN, becoming B4RN East Anglia.  See the associated press release.

The Network

Unlike other providers, we won't use BT’s copper lines to reach customer’s properties. Our gigabit network will be entirely fibre optic and entirely B4RN community owned. None of this would be possible without the support of the investors, volunteers and landowners to make the BARNorfolk project a reality. Read more about this on our community pages.

When a new community on the edge of our coverage area wishes to be connected, we ask them to raise investment and support to cover the expansion. With the help of local volunteers and landowners, we establish viable routes and wayleaves, then lay small 16mm ducts in that new area either by trench or mole-ploughing. Fibre optic cable is then fed down these ducts in a process called ‘blowing’.

Often we will need to site a ‘node’ cabinet in the new community; these can be hosted inside community buildings (village halls etc.) or in our custom built secure outdoor enclosures. These local nodes are always connected by at least two feeds into the wider network, offering resilience and continued service even if one of the feeds is interrupted.

Further 16mm ducts are installed around the community to a number of inconspicuously buried chambers in which we will place junction boxes called ‘bullets’. From these bullets, a very small 7mm duct will be laid to each and every property requesting service. Once the fibre is blown into this duct and its connections ‘spliced’, a property can go live at 1000Mbps!

Most of our ducts will be laid deep under agricultural land, but we will regularly license roadworks where necessary, cross railways, dual carriageways and canals.  Other community groups such as B4RN have even crossed under rivers with Environment Agency approved directional drilling.

We can continue expanding the B4RN network to many times the initially planned size with no compromise to the quality or speed of users’ connections. This is due to the amazing bandwidth capacity of fibre, and the professional, world class design of our network.

Company Details

Broadband for the Rural North Ltd

Registration Number:  31352R

Registered Office: Station Yard, Melling, Carnforth, LA6 2QY

Head Office

Station Yard, Melling, Carnforth, LA6 2QY

Tel: 01524 555 887

Email: info@b4rn.org.uk

East Anglia Office

(post only): Hill Crest, Hill House Road, Bramerton, Norwich, NR14 7EE

Tel: 01508 500 366

Email: info@b4rnorfolk.org.uk

Techdesk (customer support)

Tel: 015242 38499

Email: helpdesk@b4rn.org.uk

B4RNorfolk and Broadband for Rural Norfolk are trading names of B4RN in East Anglia

Society registration documents: FCA website

Company Directors as of June 2017:

Barry Forde (CEO)

Monica Lee (Company Secretary)

Chris Carr

Peter Hearne

Ian Thompson

East Anglia Core team:

Michael Davey (Regional Director, East Anglia)

David Evans

Karl Jermyn (East Anglia Secretary)

Other Key People


Broadband for the Rural North Ltd is incorporated under the Industrial and Provident Societies Act 1965 and regulated by the FCA.