Investment Update – May 2019

B4RN is now expected to be going live in parts of Rathmell by the end of June.

As you will remember our initial investment target was for us to be able to start the dig on Route 1.

We have raised £65k so far and that money has now been spent in bringing Route 1 to its current state, under budget.

Unfortunately the Government voucher scheme isn’t going to give us anything like the remaining amount for the rest of the work.

We need to raise approximately another £30-50k to complete our Phase 1 area which includes Route 1 (almost complete), the rest of central Rathmell, and the initial part of the route to Wigglesworth/Tosside as far as Cappleside. The exact amount we need will depend on how many vouchers are successfully applied for and our future digging costs.

To make an investment download a form from here…pdf

The B4RN share prospectus is downloadable from here

The majority of the investment so far has come from people who are going to have to wait for more money to be raised before they can get connected.  It would be great if those who will shortly be able to go live on B4RN who would like to invest could return the favour and help us raise the funds needed to complete Phase 1.

We would also welcome any additional investment that existing investors could contribute.

Gooselands Voucher applications

One of the postcodes that has been accepted by DCMS for both residential and business vouchers is BD24 0LT i.e. Gooselands in Rathmell.  B4RN have asked for as many BD24 0LT residents as possible to register now on as this will help both to lower costs and release more money back into the project.  This should also mean that we would be able to get Gooselands properties dug and connected sooner rather than later.  

May 2019 update

Dig & Fibre Blowing progress

As per the map below we have had a lot of progress over the last week or so. 

Green shows where there is Live fibre, Red shows where fibre has been blown into the access chambers (manholes) but is not yet spliced (joined up), and orange shows where we have duct. 

n.b. when the fibre is blown into the chambers it then needs to be split out and spliced to the next section of fibre, either to link to the next chamber or to serve a property(s), this splicing is done by a separate team who need to get scheduled in by B4RN. 

Further route 1 fibre blowing is now awaiting the arrival in stock at B4RN of the 288 fibre cable that we need to have blown into the rest of route 1.

The road crossings at the old school field and at Gawthorpe House have both been completed this week, we just need to get a few ends of ducts dug in and jointed and we will have a fully dug in trunk route ducting.

Digging has been ongoing up at Rome farm and the line to Parsons Close has now been completed. Digging will continue in Rathmell next week to lay in the property spur ducts on the north side of Hesley Lane from Gawthorpe House to The Grange and a couple of other outstanding property spurs off route 1. 

If you are on Route 1 then if you haven’t already done so you need to be working on the following: Get your garden dig done

Get the ducting into your garden (in most cases from the field adjoining your property) and across the garden to your house wall.  As per previous emails the orange duct needs to run below ground, please do all you can to go under garden walls / fences rather than through or over them, and please consider the chances of you or someone else damaging the ducting when doing future work in the garden (probably best to be more than a single spade depth down), use extra protection (e.g. blue water pipe) if you can’t dig it in deep.

If you need help in doing your dig then ask around for help from neighbours, a group working together can do a lot in short time.

There is also a gardener who has done work for people on garden digs on other B4RN projects and would do similar work for residents on this project, his name is Robert Davidson and he can be contacted on 07766662861 or email

Get a House Kit installed

I’ve given out 25 house kits over the last few weeks and have another 20 ready to get out to you.  Rather than me spend time chasing people to try and give them out, I’ve decided that it would be best if people arrange to come and pick up a kit from me, so get in touch to arrange a pickup if you are on Route 1 and don’t yet have a kit.

We have a Rathmell based electrician, Craig Curry, who is B4RN trained to install house kits and you can contact him on 07941 085086 or email to arrange an install.

4th April 2019 update

Now the whole area voucher application has been approved, Route 1 is no longer ‘on hold’ and the ordering / blowing of fibre is being worked into B4RN’s plans and will proceed as soon as possible.

We also have dates for the 2 road crossings on Hesley Lane which are planned as

29th April – Old school field crossing

1st May – Gawthorpe House crossing

The crossing at the Reading Room to the lane beside the church has been quoted for and so should follow in the next batch of planned work during May or early June

The control node cabinet is now in place on its concrete base in the Reading Room car park, which is another major step forward.

Digging has also still been under way and ducting is now in place up to Swainstead incorporating the first stretch of the route towards Sheepwash and Wham.

21 March 2019 update

Dig Progress

Route1 Trunk is now all dug in!! The remaining road crossing at the old school field on Hesley Lane is expected to be in April.  The B4RN civils team laid the base for the distribution cabinet (green box) and dig in its power connection from the Reading Room.  Once the cabinet base is in place B4RN will be able to install the cabinet itself. Digging will continue over the coming weeks to fill out the Route 1 spurs to Rome / Swaw Beck / Swainstead / Old Sawmill / Hesley Lane (Gawthorpe House-The Grange) and the central Rathmell ‘head-ends’.

Voucher Scheme

B4RN are still waiting to hear from DCMS regarding the Voucher Scheme application for the area, B4RN have a number of applications in progress and have been in contact with DCMS to prioritise our area application.  Once the application is approved I will be able to send you a link to B4RN’s online form where you will be able to register to get a connection under the voucher scheme.  I’ll send more details on this at the time.

House Kits / Garden Digs

I am going to be collecting a batch of house kits from B4RN during next week and so we will soon be in a position to provide them to those who have asked for them so far.  If the voucher scheme is approved I am told there should be an allowance per property being connected under the voucher scheme to be put towards the house kit install and/or garden dig costs.  I don’t have full details on this yet but I will provide more info as soon as I have it.

March 9, 2019 update – the trunk route has reached Rathmell old school

We’ve had some good progress this week in spite of the weather and we have now got duct for Route1 as far as Hesley Lane at the old school field, and spurs down to the school / School House as per the sections shown in purple.

Our next section to work on is the section shown in blue which would give us a completed trunk route bar the road cut / crossing at the school field.

House Kit installation training

Training was held in Rathmell on Monday 4th March to give attendees the relevant knowledge of how to install the internal and external house boxes and handle the ducting / fibre.

March 2, 2019 update – good digging progress on the trunk route between Hollin Hall and Green Farm

We have made some good progress over the last few weeks as you will be able to see from the map below. Green shows the part of the dig that B4RN have blown fibre into being served off the Eldroth node, Orange is where we had duct dug to on the last update, and Pink is the duct we have dug in since the last update.

So we have gone under the railway and the A65 and got duct to the properties at Close House and down to the Craven Arms.  The main route has advanced from Hollin Hall up to the lane to Huggon House / Green Farm and spurs have been laid to garden walls of the properties around Huggon House.  We saw a slightly unconventional yet effective approach from Martin Charnley who took his garden fence down and invited the contractor to mole his and his neighbour’s house connections in through his garden! We have also impact-moled under Mill Lane by Tilthammer / Old Sawmill ready to get property ducts to the Old Sawmill area. We were hoping to have reached Hesley Lane at the Old School Field at the end of last week, however a broken starter motor on the mole plough compounded by another problem caused when removing the broken starter prevented us from ploughing this week.  So hoping for better progress during next week.


I’m still not going to give any definitive dates as there are still too many variables to be certain but I will outline what remains to be done (in no particular order, some things will be able to happen in parallel).

  • 1-2 weeks worth of digging on the main trunk duct – this is our prime focus at the moment
  • Open road cut across Hesley Lane at the ‘School Field’ gateway – to be done by B4RN no fixed date as yet but expected to be early April
  • Open road cut across Hesley Lane at Gawthorpe Hosuse – to be done by B4RN no fixed date, but will be done at the same time as the school field crossing
  • B4RN distribution node to install / commission – to be done by B4RN no fixed date as yet
  • Open road cut across Main Street Rathmell from the Reading Room to the lane by the church – to be done by B4RN no fixed date as yet 
  • Filling out property spurs to the rest of central Rathmell (aka the ‘head ends’ in B4RN terminology)Filling out property spurs off the rest of the trunk route e.g. Swainstead / Swaw Beck / Rome / Parsons Close
  • Another variable which may affect timescales is changes made in November to the rules of the Gigabit Fibre Broadband Voucher Scheme which now allow B4RN to make a block application covering both businesses and residential properties.  B4RN have made an application for our area and are awaiting confirmation from the Department of Media, Culture and Sport as to whether this has been approved.  B4RN will be waiting for this to be resolved before they make any further properties live as they cannot claim on a property retrospectively.  I’ll give more details on this as soon as I have them.

Getting yourself ready for a house install

The above diagram gives an overview of how a B4RN connection gets from the duct in the field to the router mounting plate in your house, and who is responsible for which parts of that connection.

The project will get a 7mm orange duct to your garden boundary, please let us know if there is a specific place you would like us to get to.

It is the householder’s responsibility to get the duct dug in through their garden (we can’t mole plough every garden). I would encourage neighbours to work together to have multiple property ducts dug in together as much as possible.

The project will supply the householder with 7mm ducting (black for above ground and orange for below ground) and any connectors required.  If you choose to add additional protection to the buried duct e.g. alkathene water pipe, then you would need to supply that. It may be possible to source some free offcuts of 16mm duct from B4RN to use as additional protection.

It is the project’s responsibility to get the 5mm white property duct through the house wall and fit the internal / external boxes. As things stand this is normally done on a volunteer basis and any costs involved have to be met by the local group as they are not covered by the B4RN connection fee or the project investment.  However if the voucher scheme goes ahead, and a property has signed up with the scheme, I am led to believe that this may well become less of a volunteer basis and may become more of a contractor job with the costs claimable against the voucher scheme.  Again I will update you when we have more definitive details of how this will all work.

Note: I understand that all Harrison Cross’s electricians have all been trained in the fitting of B4RN House Kits so they are also a potential route to get a House Kit installation done at the householder’s expense.  However, the project will still need to be involved in order to get the House Kit from B4RN, so please ask first.

Once all the above is in place and the cluster of properties served off the same access chamber have reached the same point B4RN engineers will come to blow the actual fibre from the chamber to your property and make the connection live and give you a router to mount on the internal box if your are taking up the connection.

January 5, 2019 update – trunk route nearly 3/4 complete

We have now completed installing duct for 5295 metres out of the 7418 metres of the main incoming trunk route which makes our main route 71% complete.  The map below shows sections where we have duct with live fibre blown in in green, sections which have had duct installed in orange and the sections still to be dug in blue.

We have a road crossing to do near the pumping station on Paley Green Lane and once that is in place we will have a continuous incoming route from Armitstead all the way to Hollin Hall.  This should be able to be completed via an impact mole which our current B4RN contractor is able to do himself. 

Work will be restarting this week to get the remaining sections of the trunk route dug in, our contractor is taking on an extra pair of hands to help with the work.  The digging work should only be about another 2 to 3 weeks.  We have two further road crossings to get in place on the trunk route – one to cross the Huggon House – Green Farm track which should be an impact mole, and the other a road crossing on Hesley Lane above the Old School which is likely to need to be a road cut which we are awaiting a date on for it to be done.

We are also arranging with B4RN for the control node plinth to be installed in the Reading Room car park following which the control node can be put in place.  Once the control node in place and has an incoming fibre connection back into the B4RN network every property that we have reached can be made live and every further property we then reach can also be made live.

Once the work to dig in the trunk route is in place we will look to complete the Phase 1 work by moving on to fill out the various spurs off the main route, the order in which these get done will depend on both availability of access to land and where there are investors’ properties.  These spurs include (in no particular order) Tipperthwaite, Rome / Parson’s Green, Close House / Craven Arms, Swaw Beck, Swainstead (n.b. this incorporates the start of the route to Wham) , Green Farm, Old Sawmill, North side of Hesley Lane below the school, Cross Keys / College Fold, Central Rathmell east of Main Street, Gooselands / Field Gate / Cappleside (n.b. this incorporates the start of routes to Wigglesworth / Tosside).

I’m awaiting an up to date figure on overall investment from B4RN and I’ll let you all know as soon as I have that.

Once the Phase 1 dig work is completed we will be looking to move on to other routes or parts of routes either on from Swainstead towards Wham, or from Cappleside towards Tosside or Wigglesworth.  This will ultimately be driven by suitable levels of investment being in place to be able to move those routes forward.  It would be really useful if I could have a volunteer or two from each of those routes to help liaise with other people on those routes.  If people on other routes want to go through a similar exercise as to when we were looking to raise the initial £50k threshold then I am willing to hold on to your cheque, B4RN shares application form and a note from you under which conditions that cheque and form can be submitted to B4RN.

December 1, 2018 update – welcome to Steve Foster, our new contractor

We are back underway with digging! Despite the occasional biblical downpour we have managed to get through a couple of tricky areas around the back of Holly Dene and New Hall during last week. Next week we are looking to plough ahead across the bottoms from New Hall to get joined up to the existing ducting at Paley Green Lane.

Many thanks to Steve Foster our new B4RN contractor and all those who have helped out during this week – Paul Baxter, Bryan Gorst, Anna & Steve Howarth, John Rushden, Chris & Richard Frankland.

A picture of Steve’s fully metal tracked plough attached for the machinery lovers out there:

2nd October update – digging well underway, and we’re looking for contractors

Over the summer and since the last update, Roger has made sure that good progress was made… digging started and several kilometres of cable are now in the ground between the LEWFA project and Rathmell. As I write, we’re expecting an imminent visit from B4RN’s technicians to have a look at details such as power supply up at Rathmell Reading Room, where our central cabinet will be located.

wanted: mole plough contractors

But we’re also slightly victims of our (or B4RN’s) success, because our mole plough contractors have been too busy to dig for RW(G)BB in recent weeks.

We’re putting out a call for other people who would be willing and able to mole plough to get in touch with us. B4RN experience / accreditation is an advantage because there’s immediate work for anyone who can jump straight in and knows the specifics of the project. We think training can be arranged for contractors who mole plough but not yet for B4RN, so please get in touch if you’re interested in the work!

We’re now on …[eyeroll]… Facebook

Well, it probably had to happen eventually. RW(G)BB is now on Facebook – like us, share us, use that “angry face” reaction, messenger us, scatter your metadata to the universe:

Seriously (or rather, equally seriously), we hope being on FB will make some of the increasingly important community aspects of our project easier for local residents to follow and manage.

(“Easier than popping round and asking the neighbour?” you ask. Good question. Good question.)