Progress Update – June 2020

Progress Update – June 2020

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*** Important announcement for businesses signing up for the B4RN service from 13th May 2020 ***

There was a sudden recent change to the Installation Grant (also referred to as the ‘Dig Grant’) from B4RN which affects businesses. For registrations made on or after Wednesday 13th May, the grant paid to both residents and businesses when the service goes live has been harmonised both at £150.

For registrations made before Wednesday 13th May, the Grant will still be paid at the previous rate when the service goes live: £150 for residents and £300 for businesses.

We at B4NTR have since had extensive discussions directly with B4RN about this change, but its clear they are keen to bring the residential and business dig grants in-line with one another to make them fairer since dig costs are broadly similar in rural areas. Businesses will continue to benefit from a free connection, for residential properties the cost will be still be £150 for connection.

As another local volunteer put it “I hope this is not seen in a negative manner, we must hold on to all that is available, not wring our hands at the reduction.”

For more information you can read B4RN’s statement below.

On a more positive and important note for our project B4RN has agreed that they will start the road crossing surveys in the next couple of weeks for the Barrasford area of the project (the yellow boundary on the map below) i.e. the start of the project. We have a good number of sign-ups there. This is quite a time consuming part of the project and it needs to be done before we can start to build.

Most land owners there have already signed a wayleave to help support the project (Thanks so much if you have!), but we’re in negotiations and planning with some big land owners still and there’s a lot of detailed planning to do over these areas. Coronavirus hasn’t helped unfortunately and there’s needed to be a lot of changing to how we all need to do things in this regard and its taking time.

On completion of the surveys B4RN will then be able to calculate the actual cost of the project and if it is within 10% of the estimated build cost they will give the green light for digging in the Barrasford area of the project! (This would include Birtley, Chollerton, Swinburn and Gunnerton parishes)

B4RN has already ordered the main green cabinet for Barrasford which was quite exciting to hear! We also arranged the agreement for this to be placed by Barrasford Village Hall with the committee and will supply the village hall with FREE gigabit internet once we go live.

Ordered and coming soon to Barrasford….

Another significant positive is that a proportion of the Allen Valley project should go live very shortly, our sister project. We would hope that this will help invigorate our project as people begin to enjoy the benefits of having a B4RN service in Northumberland.

B4RN assures us they are still fully behind our project and are keen to make things happen as soon as reasonably possible.

So although we cannot give you an exact date for when we will start digging we are moving forward! And hope to see a B4RN digger coming to your area soon!

Its more important than ever that you sign-up with B4RN if you want the service otherwise we can’t guarantee you’ll be part of the initial plan and it could delay the service reaching you or your area. Pop your postcode in below to register. Remember you can choose to defer the time you want to take up the service if your in say a BT or another provider’s contract when doing this. So don’t let this be barrier!

Lastly once we start building we’re going to need residents to ‘dig your gig’ to get the B4RN fibre from your curtilage, to your home. This is the purpose for the installation/dig grant which is intended to assist residents and businesses to undertake their responsibilities if they require the B4RN service. These responsibilities are to install the 7mm ducting (which will be provided) across their curtilage and to install the House Kit (or employ contractors to do this work for them). There will be more details as we get closer to this point, but at present its just to get people thinking about this.

We hope you are excited about to the world’s fastest rural internet coming to North Tyne and Redesdale. Its still a challenging time, but we’re still committed to making the project happen! We will still need help micro-planning throughout the villages and residents working together to help their neighbours and each other to ‘dig your gig’ but we hope the main routes will start to be put in the ground soon.

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