Image demonstrating B4RN brings full fibre broadband to rural Northumberland

B4RN brings full fibre broadband to rural Northumberland

The fastest broadband speeds are coming to over 6,000 homes and businesses across rural Northumberland and County Durham as part of the B4RN North East project. 

In collaboration with Building Digital UK (BDUK) and Northumberland County Council, B4RN is delivering several projects as part of Project Gigabit, the UK Government's £5 billion programme aimed at providing lightning-fast, gigabit-capable broadband to the hardest-to-reach communities. 

Having already connected the Allen Valleys, from Spartylea through Whitfield and Catton, B4RN (Broadband for the Rural North), is currently rolling out full fibre broadband in Barrasford, Kirkwhelpington, and Woodburn, along with surrounding villages and will soon be extending in  Kielder Forest, Simonburn, Tarset & Falstone, Warden Wall & Sandhoe, Humshaugh, Hexhamshire, Slaley & Healey, and Hexham West. 

Planning and survey work for these areas will commence shortly, with community outreach sessions to follow. 

B4RN is a community-focused initiative, meaning all set rates cover costs and ensure sustainability, with any surplus profits being reinvested into the communities it serves. 

Since laying its first ducting in 2011, B4RN has provided free connections and services to primary schools, village halls, places of worship, and other community assets like community shops. 

Lynne Rawles, B4RN’s Volunteer Champion for Barrasford, Kirkwelpington and Woodburn had this to say about their project. “Our story started with a need for better broadband in a poorly served remote area of Northumberland. I initially brought together fifteen volunteers from eight rural parishes with a dream to offer every property who wanted a 1,000 megabits fibre broadband connection to their door.  

“We researched and approached a number of suppliers before finding B4RN. Out of all the suppliers B4RN was the only one to commit to supplying every property in each parish no matter how distant and remote. No-one would be left behind.” 

B4RN plays a crucial role in bridging the digital divide. The project particularly benefits hard-to-reach populations, including older adults, low-income households, and rural communities, by offering full-fibre, symmetrical internet connections at half the price of their standard tariff. A Social Tariff is also available, ensuring affordable high-quality internet access for those who need it most. 

Chris Thompson, Director of Digital and IT at Northumberland County Council said, “This is fantastic news for these rural communities. Bringing gigabit-capable broadband to rural areas in Northumberland is a game-changer.  

We rely on digital technology more and more and this project will drive economic growth and social inclusion, ensuring everyone can get online.  

We know there is more to do to connect all our rural areas, but this is a great step forward.” 

The project ensures all customers benefit from the same1Gb speeds for both uploading and downloading. 

Find out if your property could benefit at  

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