Resident Update – October

Firstly a big thanks to all of you who have responded to the online form. You should have had an email back from us if your response was successfully received. If you want to be included, or you believe you responded but have not had an email, please submit a response through or email us via

As of 20th October we have had the following responses

Want faster Broadband Willing to invest in B4RN Willing to pay BT
62 53 43

BT Openreach solution

We have a 15 week lead time between us submitting a list of interested properties to BT and getting a price back from BT. With this in mind we are looking to get our list of properties together by 15-Nov-2016.

BT Works in Wigglesworth

As some of you may be aware BT Openreach were pulling cable through Wigglesworth in July with manhole fencing saying ‘ Fibre Broadband is here. Order now’. We have checked with Superfast North Yorkshire, who are working with BT and are jointly responsible for the rollout of Fibre Broadband in our area, they have stated that this installation was what is termed a spine cable and whilst this is part of the infrastructure required for faster broadband ‘it will not have an impact on broadband in Wigglesworth’ in the near future. There are still no plans that we are aware of for either Wigglesworth or Rathmell to be included in any Superfast North Yorkshire rollout. In a letter dated 30.06.2016 the Chief Executive of NYNet stated that properties in Wigglesworth were not included in phase 2 of the current rollout which ends in June 2017. The phase 3 contract is likely to be awarded in early 2017 and will run until around 2019. The Chief Executive stated in the same letter that they were unable to say whether properties in Wigglesworth would be included in Phase 3 (which will achieve 95% broadband coverage in North Yorkshire and not 100%). The letter suggested that residents in Wigglesworth may wish to consider the B4RN option.

Broadband for the Rural North (B4RN) solution

We will be contacting people who have indicated they would be willing to invest to get an idea of what level of investment they would be prepared to make. This would only be an indication of an amount, and does not require any commitment at this point in time.

If we are confident we can reach a level of investment (without actually taking anyone’s money) which meets B4RN’s threshold they will begin a detailed planning process. That process will be based on the list of interested properties that we provide to them, and they will give back to us their best estimate of what the cost of the project will be. If we decide to proceed with B4RN we would then liaise with landowners on the prospective routes. Alongside this we would also start to gather actual investment to cover the project cost.
If we have sufficient investment in we would be looking to start digging ducting in ~May 2017

Get your interest in early

It is in the best interests of all involved that any properties that might eventually want to get connected to either of the candidate solutions to register their interest as early as possible.

We need to get the list of interested properties to BT Openreach as soon as we can as there is a 15 week lead time for them to come back to us with a price. If a property is not on that list there is no guarantee that the work that BT Openreach would quote for will cover that property and there may be significant delays if we try to add additional properties onto the list at a later stage.

We also need to provide a property list to B4RN to get a detailed costing and adding properties in later may well lead to delays and possibly increased costs to the project which we would want to avoid.

Village Meetings

We are holding meetings in both villages to explore these issues in an open Q&A type forum. We are looking to get attendees from the Lawkland-Eldroth-Wharfe-Feizor-Austwick (LEWFA) B4RN project to share their experience of funding, planning and installing the B4RN broadband solution. The meetings will be a great opportunity to have your questions answered, please do come along and have your say.

The meetings will be as follows and all are welcome – especially those who are undecided:

Wigglesworth Community Centre
Wednesday 2nd November 7:30pm
Rathmell Reading Room
Thursday 3rd November 7:30pm

meeting with LEWFA – 25th June

LEWFA welcomed a group of us on the 25th June, and talked us through their experiences so far with their B4RN project, which was started in 2015 and was, when we met them, a little over a month into the digging and laying of the fibre optic cables for their community broadband network.

The meeting was extremely helpful, and painted a realistic and positive picture of the organisation, investment, determination and effort required to carry out a community project of this type.

Key points:

  • LEWFA expect the whole project to take 2 years, from start to finish.
  • They identified three key ongoing tasks and allocated each one to a member of the LEWFA team, so that the workload would be manageable. The tasks were:
    1. promotion of the project and communication of progress within the community
    2. route and network planning
    3. fundraising and finance
  • All three of those tasks, running in parallel, were essential to get the project with B4RN started: local enthusiasm was raised and gauged by talking to households and neighbours about the idea; those interested were then asked how much they might roughly be willing to invest in the project (for more on why this community investment is key to all B4RN projects, see here); an initial network map covering all properties in the 5 villages allowed B4RN to calculate an approximate cost for the LEWFA project, to check that the cost wasn’t likely to be in excess of what the community was prepared to pay for it.
  • Money was only asked for when LEWFA were sure that the cost was within the community’s reach. When enough money had come in for LEWFA to be sure that the project would be successfully funded, they gave the go-ahead and work started in earnest… ie, material was ordered and digging started.
  • Members of the community signed up for smaller / shorter roles in the project, such as talking to landowners to agree wayleaves for the cable to go under their fields, or co-ordinating the digging with landowners, farmers, contractors and volunteers, or helping on dig days (whether with preparation, digging under walls, feeding cable through the mole plough and so on… or with sandwiches, tea and moral support).
  • Almost all landowners in the LEWFA area have been extremely supportive of the project, and getting their permission for cable to run under their land has been relatively straightforward, with few exceptions. This is a key factor in the success (and in limiting the cost) of a B4RN project; landowners need to see and be sympathetic to the benefits of bringing broadband to their wider community, since they aren’t paid for cable crossing their land (though they can be “paid” for digging in the cables themselves).

In summary, LEWFA were enthusiastic about their project, and happy with their experience with B4RN so far. Their advice and experience (which they were very willing to share with us, and which we were very grateful to receive) gave those of us from Rathmell and Wigglesworth considerable hope that a similar project could work well in our villages.

Thanks again to LEWFA for their hospitality and openness.

mobile (4G) internet

To paraphrase this article, using the mobile (4G) network to bring broadband to rural communities feels like it should be an easier answer than laying miles of cable, but along with the advantages, there are a number of drawbacks. From the Broadbandchoices article:

Pros of 4G over home broadband
  • Packages are often far more flexible – 30-day contracts abound that can be cancelled whenever you want.
  • Speeds can be pretty darn fast, sometimes faster than home broadband connections.
  • A mobile broadband device is portable, so you can take it wherever you take your laptop or tablet.
  • It eliminates the need to pay for home broadband, line rental, and a mobile plan – using 4G for your home connection could potentially cut out some bills completely.
Cons of 4G over home broadband
  • Mobile broadband, whether from a hotspot or your smartphone, usually has far stricter download limits than even the cheapest of home connections.
  • Tethering from a mobile isn’t always possible. Not all smartphones have it as a feature, some networks don’t allow it, and some have narrow download limits for tethering. An unlimited data plan from Three, for instance, has a separate Personal Hotspot allowance of 12GB.
  • It’s more expensive than similar home broadband packages… which often give you unlimited downloads, comparable speeds, and extras like internet security or TV.
  • It’s less reliable. A lot of things can get in the way of a wireless signal, and if it goes down or starts being slow, there’s very little you can do about it.
  • Those fast speeds have also been known to be pretty inconsistent.
  • 4G can reach good speeds (40+ Mb), but fixed line broadband can reach much higher ones – up to 1Gb with fibre optic cable.

For those reasons among others, key members of the Rathmell / Wigglesworth group are of the opinion that 4G is unlikely to be the best solution for our villages.

BT Openreach – community fibre partnerships

BT Openreach have connected 95% of the UK to fast broadband… but we’re in the remaining 5%. Their Community Fibre Partnership scheme is a way for a community to pay the difference between what BT will invest and what a broadband project actually costs.

If this project came to fruition the properties that it covers should be able to take up products like BT Infinity with typical speeds in the range of 20Mbps-50Mbps .  Please note unlike the B4RN option we are investigating this will not by default cover all the community, it would only cover areas (and possibly only properties) where people have expressed an interest.

It should also be noted that this would be a Fibre to the Cabinet/Fibre to the Pole solution and the remainder of the link from the Cabinet/Pole to your house would still run over a copper cable which will still suffer speed degradation as the length of the copper run increases.

To get a costing from Openreach we need to provide a list of all the interested properties, so please Register your Interest.

Broadband for the Rural North (B4RN)

B4RN started out in villages between Lancaster and Bentham, and have already extended their fibre-optic network as far as Clapham and Keasden to the north of us, and are working on a project to bring Lawkland, Eldroth and Austwick onto the network too.

B4RN succeeds by bringing together their expertise and the efforts of the community and the permission of local landowners to produce a hyperfast connection to every property in the community.  Their Fibre-To-The-Home (FTTH) connection gives both a very fast upload and download speed of 1Gbps (that’s 1000Mbps!) with the possibility of even faster speeds in the future over the same connection.

We are actively pursuing getting an estimate of the investment required for this solution.  We need to get as accurate as possible list of properties in the Rathmell and Wigglesworth communities so please use the form to Register your Interest.