In 2009, Christine Conder, developed a solution to her neigbour’s internet connectivity problems. This solution has evolved into a local broadband network.
Christine Conder, who sees herself as a farmer’s wife, is a revolutionary internet pioneer to 2,300 members of the rural communities of Lancashire. Her DIY solution to a neighbour’s internet connectivity problems in 2009, has evolved into B4RN, local broadband network. B4RN offers fast one gigabit per second broadband speeds to the parishes which nestle in the picturesque Lune Valley. That is 35 times faster than the 28.9 Mbps average UK speed internet connection according to Ofcom.
It began when the trees which separated Chris’s neighbouring farm from their only connection to the internet, provided by Lancaster University, grew too tall. They needed something more robust, but had no alternatives. So Chris purchased a kilometre of fibre-optic cable and dug a trench with her farm tractor.
“We dug it ourselves and we lit [the cable] ourselves and we proved that ordinary people could do it,” she says.
“It wasn’t rocket science. It was three days of hard work.”
Her motto, which she repeats often in conversation, is JFDI. Three of those letters stand for Just Do It. The fourth you can work out for yourself.
B4RN now claims to have laid 2,000 miles (3,218km) of cable and connected a string of local parishes to its network. It won’t connect a single household, so the entire parish has to be on board before it will begin to build. Each household pays £30 per month with a £150 connection fee and larger businesses pay more. Households must also do some of the installation themselves.
The local broadband network is so popular that they have work lined up for the next 10 years. Also, people from as far as Sierra Leone have attended the open days it holds a couple of times a year.