After the miserable weather conditions of the last few weeks it was a relief to restart the project even though the Covid 19 restrictions have meant that our “Group Digs” are still suspended.
However the B4RN contractors have been able to work (B4RN is an essential service) and last week have been able to lay ducting in the fields behind Dove Nest Lane and Main Street, which means that, shortly, the properties backing on to those fields will be able to connect (house kits need to be fitted and B4RN need to blow and splice the fibre). Some 6,000 metres of ducting, that’s almost 4 miles.
This week B4RN staff have laid ducting in Fell Field (behind Woodbank Crescent). A socially distanced group of local volunteers pulled 4,000 metres of it (2.6 miles in old money) from drums to service 57 properties - better than a Joe Wickes work out!
And whilst these works were ongoing you might have seen the ubiquitous orange ducting in the fields on the West side of the A65. We are pushing through to Summerlands Trading Estate and beyond. This will mean the core route will have been laid all around the village and the next stage is to start working back into the centre - a bit more difficult because of its built up nature.
One interesting side effect has been what we call “the hi- viz/orange ducting” syndrome. When these are spotted in the village they spark interest and I get emails and phone calls asking “am I too late to get it”. And the answer is “Not yet but you need to get your skates on”.
What this rapid roll out highlighted is that we could not have made the progress we have without the generosity of the landowners in granting access to their property. Our thanks to them - without their help this community project could not have happened.
John Lyons and B4RNPR volunteer team
Since New Year the re-emergence of the Covid virus, and the wet weather, has put a temporary stop on our group activities but we have been able to continue with Covid compliant tasks such as discussing Wayleaves with property owners and planning routes.
We are pleased to say that we have got the “green light” from B4RN for the Sycamore Close - Summerlands - Stainton link and B4RN contractors have started work on parts of that already. They will also work at the Dove Nest Lane crossroads and Low Park Lane where road crossings are needed.
Frequently we are asked “when are you going to get to us” and the answer is that one of the key factors in determining where and when we can push the roll out is how many people have told B4RN they are interested in receiving the service.
How can you do this? - by registering your interest - go to www.b4rn.org.uk/postcode-checker and follow the instructions on there. More information if you need it at on the Service Request tab above. Although this is called a Service Request you will NOT be committing yourself at this stage. It is IMPORTANT that you register before 31st March and, if you are eligible, register as a business. This is to help maximise potential government funding for our project.
One of the learning points from this dreadful pandemic is the importance of fast, secure, reliable broadband for rural communities such as ours - not just for businesses or those working from home but for domestic properties wanting to download films, stream Netflix or let the kids use their X-boxes.