Frequently Asked Questions

B4NTR (Broadband for North Tyne and Redesdale) is a local volunteer group in Northumberland working with rural broadband specialist B4RN (Broadband for the Rural North) from Melling in the Lake District. B4RN’s not your typical broadband company and it is worth watching below B4RN’s launch event despite it being a little old, just note a few share details and change in dig grant amount has changed. There’s a lot of details to get to grips with to understand the project and the video is very watchable. Equally, you can read the details below too.

  • How do I find out if I can get B4RN where I live?
    https://b4rn.org.uk/postcode-checker/ – Just enter your postcode!

    We know its slighly mad getting you to go online to sign up for decent internet when we know you probably don’t have decent internet, but its the only way to get things done these days. Do sent us any questions through the “contact us” link on the right or through our Facebook page.
    ________________________________________________________________________
  • How Much Will it Cost?
    For almost all residents AND businesses the cost will be £30 per month
    In B4RN’s terms most businesses are micro-businesses and have 5 or fewer employees using the internet full time.

    Residents will have to pay £150 connection charge and once connected B4RN will give a dig grant of £150
    Businesses (sole trader and up) get a FREE connection and once connected B4RN will give a dig grant of £150*

    – Its all to do with how government vouchers help fund the project see more info a little further down.

    For all the latest cost details see the B4RN prices webpage – https://b4rn.org.uk/b4rn-service/charges/

    Holiday cottages, caravan sites, larger businesses, hotels etc all have special pricing plans that take into account their special circumstances.
    ________________________________________________________________________
  • Where’s all that money going?
    B4RN is a not-for-profit community benefit society – it has employees who are paid, but its profits don’t go into shareholders or into CEO’s pockets. They go to getting more people connected rurally that otherwise wouldn’t or go to benefitting local community projects and all this will continue into the future.

    Indeed B4RNs customer’s are its shareholders – They are the people who go to B4RN’s Annual General Meeting and decide on issues from expansion to monthly costs. Maybe you want to be one and help fund the project locally?

    If so check out –
    https://b4rn.org.uk/community/investors/

    B4NTR (the local project) is 100% ran by volunteers locally none of whom are paid. We’re simply passionate about getting world-beating internet in our area we really believe in B4RNs philosophy.

    Remember B4RN also connects Primary Schools and Places of worship completely free (not even monthly fees). ________________________________________________________________________
  • Is that including Line Rental?
    B4RN don’t supply telephone lines, therefore have NO extra charge for line rental like BT. B4RN just supplies the internet – most people use a mobile these days anyway so don’t want to pay the extra however if your keen to have a home telephone you can and you can still save money!

Option 1 – Get VOIP (Voice over the Internet)
Sounds complicated but it’s just a box you plug your phone into then plug the box into your internet router, you can even keep your own number!

There are lots of companies that offer voip. Some charge a monthly fee (usually with all your calls free), others only charge for your outgoing calls – either way, its almost always cheaper than line rental and calls depending on your usage. You can also PORT your current home number to these suppliers (additional fees may apply, still usually much cheaper).

Vonage might be one of the easiest to use, Sipgate might be the cheapest, but there’s loads of others too.

This can all keep working in the event of a power cut if you buy battery back (a UPS or uninterruptible power supply) up for your router, VOIP box and phone.

Option 2 – A Mobile Operator Signal Box
Use your internet to boost your mobile signal indoors

Your Mobile operator will also sell them (EE’s Signal Box, O2’s Boostbox, Three’s Home Signal, Vodafone’s Sure Signal). These work by connecting to your internet router and sending traffic over the broadband network to increase mobile signal. ________________________________________________________________________

  • What’s the deal with these dig grants?
    The B4NTR project build is going to be funded by government broadband vouchers from the Department of Culture, Media and Sport. They are designed with building rural broadband in mind and each property can claim these only once towards having FTTH (fibre to the home) to their property.

    Since this helps pay for the rollout of the project we want to help encourage locals to signup for them and give something back.

    Residents will have to pay £150 connection charge and once connected B4RN will give a dig grant of £150

    Businesses (sole trader and up) get a FREE connection and once connected B4RN will give a dig grant of £150. ~£300 pounds worth*.

    *The dig grant for businesses amount changed on 13th May 2020, for more details see B4RN’s statement HERE

________________________________________________________________________

  • Do I qualify as a business?
    One in FOUR homes probably qualify as a business locally – likely if you fill in a tax return you qualify. There’s no harm in applying as a business if its gets denied B4RN will let you know.

    Documentation DCMS will accept include:
    VAT registration letter;
    HMRC notification;
    Sole Trader UTR number and scan of a letter from HMRC to confirm this;
    Business bank account statement issued within the last three months;
    Utility bill issued in the last three months;
    Non-domestic rates reference

    For the detail see the Government Voucher T&C’s –
    Gigabit Voucher Terms and Conditions
    ________________________________________________________________________
  • Whats B4RN’s contract like?
    B4RN unlike many other providers typically only have a one month contract and don’t have any penalties for leaving a contract.

    When applying for the government vouchers they are forced to have a 12-month contract as part of the deal.

    See their Terms and Conditions for all the latest details –
    https://b4rn.org.uk/b4rn-service/terms-conditions/ ________________________________________________________________________
  • Any reviews of B4RN and their other projects?

Independent Reviews – https://www.broadband.co.uk/broadband/providers/b4rn/reviews/

B4RN’s Facebook reviews –
https://www.facebook.com/pg/B4RNorth/reviews/?ref=page_internal

List of B4RN’s various projects –
https://b4rn.org.uk/b4rn-service/coverage-area/

Overview of B4RN – https://www.ispreview.co.uk/isp_list/ISP_Detail_Ultrafast_Broadband.php?B4RN-302

A detailed review of B4RN –
https://arcath.net/2017/06/b4rn ________________________________________________________________________

  • I’m worried about B4RN digging up my land!
    B4RN and B4NTR need to work with local landowners and farmers in order for the project to go ahead. Without their generosity in allowing cables to be mole ploughed into their fields. It would simply be too expensive a project rurally where we live and not feasible.

    Every farmer and owners land is different however and part of the planning process is to sit down with a local B4NTR volunteer with detailed maps and make sure the proposed route is reasonable and not going anywhere it should. It might take several visits but we want these people to be happy to be involved in the project.

    A wayleave will eventually be signed by the responsible owner with attached maps with any extra details on this is transcribed to our digital map and the info passed on to our mole plough contractor who will literally walk through the route on the day which is when the final plans are really made. Finally the route needs to be mapped in the following few days before the tracks disappear.

________________________________________________________________________

I still want to know more details…

Check out our video below of our latest village hall meeting. Or email B4NTR with the “contact us” link on the upper right of our webpage – Alternatively send us a question on our Facebook page.

Do note the dig grant for businesses amount changed on 13th May 2020, for more details see B4RN’s statement HERE ________________________________________________________________________