Newsletter No 2 Great news on Funding

Over the summer months your Witherslack B4RN team has made significant steps towards bringing ultrafast broadband to our entire community.
 
Expressions of Interest – Target Reached!
 
At the beginning of August we reached 200 registered Expressions of Interest from business and residential properties in the parish -far quicker than we’d anticipated.  At that point we were able to inform B4RN that our community was serious about bringing ultrafast broadband to the parish.  And they in turn told government and registered our interest.
 
Voucher Scheme Now Launched
 
So, today we can launch the Get B4RN voucher scheme for our community.  This scheme brings down government funds that will help us build our broadband network.  Irrespective of whether you have registered an Expression of Interest or not it is very important that you now apply for your Gigabit Voucher (Click Here). 
 
Registering and completing the voucher process will mean the Government will allocate grant funding towards the deployment of B4RN in our area.  We estimate that the network will cost about £600,000 and, therefore the more vouchers requested in Witherslack B4RN the higher proportion of project costs will be government funded and the less we will need from local investment. So, we now need your support and for you to encourage neighbours and friends within the parish to also apply.
 
Applying For Your Voucher
 
Applying is really easy – just follow the hyperlink https://b4rn.org.uk/postcode-checker/  or go to the B4RN website and enter your postcode – it will then take you to the Gigabit Voucher Request Form.
 
There are information leaflets on line to assist if you are a business (same process but a few more boxes to fill).  You also need to indicate when you wish to take up a service (either immediately after we build the network or after another contract with another internet provider has expired) – but please note this is an indication only, and not a commitment.  
 
Whilst it only takes a few minutes to fill in and is easy to complete if you do need assistance then please just ask one of your Witherslack B4RN team to help.
 
Routing the Fibre to Your Home
 
As well as encouraging Voucher sign-up the Witherslack B4RN team are now looking at the route design.  Yes, we already have an initial route that covers the whole of the parish, and which could serve all properties!
 
We are now walking the route and checking with various landowners that they are happy for the route to go across their fields.  Over the winter months we will be getting wayleaves signed, ready for commencement of the build (or plough).  There is much to do but getting ultrafast broadband to our community is very nearly happening!!
 
Questions?
 
You may have lots of questions or indeed know of others who have questions and indeed reservations.  So we are organising another Village Drop-In event on 7th November from 7pm (doors open at 6.30) in the Village Hall with refreshments.
 
David Ryall from B4RN will be present to assist us all. You will also have the opportunity to register for your Gigabit Voucher at this event.
 
Do please encourage as many of your neighbours to come along to hear of the latest developments.  Attached to this newsletter is a short briefing note outlining some of the benefits of having B4RN Broadband.

 
 
More Information
 
Timetable
 
Possible start date; This depends on completion of the nearby Levens fibre network.  Construction of this new superfast network is imminent with a 9 month full installation programme planned.  The fibre link to Witherslack which will connect to the Levens network may be able to start around June 2020, assuming funding commitments are secured, main route planning is finalised, and, importantly, securing wayleave consents from land and property owners.
 
Possible go-live; This depends on installation of the network.  Similar areas served by B4RN typically require 9-12 months although some communities have achieved go-live after only 6 months.
 
Funding
 
The government provides grant funding for superfast fibre broadband to rural communities under the Gigabit Voucher or Rural Gigabit schemes.  This is worth up to £1500 per domestic property and up to £3500 for small businesses.
 
B4RN will apply to the government for funding but first we must each register with B4RN so that they can secure the funding on our behalf.
 
In our parish there are some 400 households or properties of which up to 25% could qualify as a small business.
 
B4RN are very experienced in securing funding through the government schemes; it just takes us as a community to commit.
 
Wayleaves
 
B4RN works by minimizing use of highway-owned land (e.g. along roads or roadside verges) and planning their fibre routes across private land within the parish area.  This requires extensive community liaison and support and requires landowner consent which takes the form of a simple plain English wayleave which can be revoked at any reasonable time (unlike a legally-binding easement).
 
Community Involvement
 
Critical to success is a substantial collective effort from the community.  This will not be easy, but many others have achieved success.  Beyond committing to B4RN’s voucher application and agreement on fibre routes across private land, the next commitment will be time and a willingness to help our neighbours, and some physical work.  Most of the cable laying will be by B4RN’s civil contractors using specialist machines laying the fibre ducts at 450mm (18”) depth.  But there will be areas where additional labour is needed, for example crossing gardens etc to get the fibre to people’s houses.  The core network is professionally built leaving the curtilages as the owners’ responsibility.  Anything we can do will reduce costs and improve installation time.
 
B4RN Coverage & Network Development
 
B4RN already benefits over 6000 properties and businesses in rural areas in the northwest.  Our parish area of Witherslack will be one of the next.  We will make it happen
 
 So to get your voucher click here and questions email info@witherslackb4rn.org.uk