Businesses in rural areas of the Lancaster district are now benefiting from some of the world’s fastest broadband speeds.
John Tamlin at Docker Park Farm said he now had “probably the fastest internet cafe in Britain”, while Gressingham based producer John Hamlett can claim to have one of the fastest video production companies on the planet.
Like many that have benefited from the Broadband for Rural North (B4RN) network 1 GB per second speed, father and son team David and James Whightman, from Old Hall Caravan Park at Capernwray, said that digging their own channels to lay fibre optic cables in the ground helped to bring the community together.
The B4RN service is now available in Arkholme, Abbeystead, Aughton, Capernwray, Dolphinholme, Gressingham, Newton, Docker, Littledale, Quernmore, Roeburndale, Wray, Wennington, Tatham, Melling, Whittington, and Wrayton, with further plans to roll out connections to Silverdale, Bentham, Clapham and Yealand Conyers.
Barry Forde, CEO of B4RN said there were now 800 connections with a target of up to 1,000 by March.
John Tamlin, from Docker Park Farm, said: “Prior to B4RN, Docker Park Farm had a standard copper wire on BT that was decrepit to say the least. We had to have three lines to run a small business and they couldn’t cope.
“We were starting to be very non-competitive as there was no hope of us ever offering free Wifi to customers or even some streaming music.
“Now, we can offer greater connectivity than the main providers in suburban areas, take advantage of all the opportunities of VOIP telephony - back our data up to cloud storage with no risk of any corruption, and use all the equipment we need to simultaneously with no degradation of service. We now have probably the fastest internet cafe in Britain thanks to B4RN!”
John Hamlett, from Lunar said: “For over 18 years I’ve run a small/freelance video and media production business - always totally reliant on good internet access. “When B4RN first launched I pushed hard to organise our community and get the fibre installed in Gressingham.
“I rely heavily on B4RN to make fast video uploading/sharing a reality... it’s hundreds of times faster than an average connection so gives me a massive advantage - few video production companies in the world have such a connection.”
James Whightman, from Old Hall Caravan Park, said: “Our experience with the service has been very good, and the B4RN volunteer team has been a pleasure to work with.
The main advantage to the service is obviously the speed.
“In addition, it has been nice to work with a smaller company, which is friendly and personal.”
Mr Forde said the B4RN network should be completed by the end of 2015. Homes and businesses can still register interest in the service.