Building Like Bandits

Week 5 of network building and Tony and his Team (TS Trenching) are building like Bandits. One minute you see them on the horizon and the next they are past your door riding their mole ploughs into the distance. They are laying your network with Charm and Grit. Soon Thunderbird 1 will be out with its caterpillar tracks and nothing will stop them apart from the lack of ginger bread and tea.

Dig Plans are formulating on a daily basis. Mealbank are nearly ready to dig or hang along the walls of terraces. Please come along to the Thursday night meets if you have a plan or need help with one. The Fibre Termination Units and outside boxes with ducting are ready to be collected and installed.

Shares are still needed. If you haven’t yet invested then please consider at least the minimum investment. Please download the Shares Application Form. Also if you can increase your shares every little helps.

Our electricity cabinet has landed so it won’t be long now and the cabinet will be live. We as a community are ready, we just need to wait on B4RN to blow and splice the fibre to the over 50 properties that currently have ducting connected to the Head End. Zayo will be splicing into the main internet of the world  in the next week or 2 then when Electricity North West connect the spark there will be no looking back at the old copper lines.

Currently we are nearly at 100% connectivity of the properties we have dug past.

Help Needed. If you own a trailer and can do a run to Melling for materials please let me know. We where promised an artic load full but it has not appeared yet. I have completed at least 4 van and trailer loads and a couple of others have helped too so please do your bit if you can.

Route Info – I have updated the route info on the site. Grayrigg plans are coming together but we are still in need of a few conversations with land owners and way leaves. Please get in touch.

Dan Robinson, B4MS Voluntary Project Manager.



B4MS Update – 5/10/19

Zayo – On Tuesday 2nd, I had a meeting with Tom from B4RN and Neil from Zayo and there is now a plan for what exactly needs doing for the connection from our Head End / Node / Big Green Box to the world wide web (Zayo Line) Work will be carried out at some point in the next 3 to 4 weeks at the dead of night when the internet is less used. Team B4RN arrived and drilled our ducting into the chamber and our fibre is ready to be spliced into the Zayo line.

Net Work Digging Progress – So on Route 1 (SE1) is complete to SE108 Watchgate & along Spur SE108b (High Above Park). Swinny and his team have nipped over the A6 and are now down the back of Garnet Bridge. Next week they will pop back and drill the A6 once the 3 days notice is formally in with the council. They will then be gone up Longsleddale for a month or two going up the West side from Cocks Close first. 90% of the properties up Longsleddale have their connections dug and drilled and ready for completion to the chambers when the team fly past. 90% of the community have also invested in B4RN and some have counted coppers to scrape the £100 and some have invested heavily. Hopefully a good proportion of the valley will be live by mid December. It won’t be long now until Swinny deploys Thunderbird 1 – the big tracked beast that leaves minimal trace on wet ground and can travel anywhere in any weather (as long as the team behind it have tea and ginger bread!!!)

Materials – We have yet to take delivery of the promised large order of duct and chambers so between myself, Swinny and a couple of other volunteers we are collecting materials in an inefficient, time consuming way but we are just about coping. If anyone has a large trailer and can pop to Melling for a load or 2 let me know and we can send you on a hunter gatherer mission.

Fibre Blowing – We had been booked for fibre blowing early October but this has now been put back for a week or so.

Electricity – Our cabinet for the electric meters and switching gear has arrived at B4RN and is being kitted out and should be inplace next week. Thanks again to Logan Tomm for his work laying the foundations and ducting. We are just waiting on Electricity North West to finalise paperwork and then send the contractors to get the spark off the pole and down to the cabinet, after that we will be live and ready to equip the Head End.

Net Work Design – I have been working hard surveying the land and tweaking the routes. After another visit to B4RN today we have a selection of changes now in for re-drawing with local knowledge applied. Many an hour has been spent looking, talking, thinking, walking and remapping with B4RN. Route 3 is now nearly ready for release. We have a confirmed way into the school and again Logan not only laid ducting for B4RN in the 80’s over garnet bridge but had laid at the school a spare duct into the boiler house from the car park meaning that we won’t have to dig through the tarmac. He must have crystal ball.

Terrace Houses – Today down at B4RN I have been asking and learning a few finer details about how rows of houses can be best served. We now have some idea’s to bounce around and finalise for the city of Watchgate, Mealbank, etc. Knowledge Corner – a 12 fibre cable can be blown short distances through 7mm duct. Surface mounted fibre splicing boxes can be mounted on property walls and serve up to 6 properties. It is possible to sling tiny distances between semi detached properties with re in-forced black 7mm duct. Way leaves are required from all properties that have adjacent properties connections attached.

SEHE – Ground works at the Selside Head End are near completion. The Drystone wall is complete (tidy work Mark Jennings)(thanks for all the stone Chris Taylor), gate is hung (thanks Will Hodgson), Land is levelled (handy digger driving Ricky Yates), grass seeded by grandma and Tom & Ari Robinson, Parking area to finish off and hardcore to fill the compound (thanks John Howson) and then we will be ready for a party once it is live!!! Not long now!!!

Shares – I am contacting everyone by e-mail requesting permission to submit their shares application’s to B4RN and only doing so when I have had confirmation. I am doing this batch at a time so look out for an e-mail over the next week or two directly from me (Dan Robinson). If this is not fast enough and you would like your shares to go to B4RN then e-mail me and ill send them on.

Investment Still Needed – We have met our initial target to get the green light but by no means does this cover the full costs. SEHE is estimated at 473,000 and GRHE at 312,000. If you can and are willing to buy more shares or haven’t and can afford at least the minimum of £100 of shares it all counts to the total we will need. B4RN_Invest_2


Impact Mole

Impact mole’s are powered by compressed air and hammer their way through the ground from trench to trench. They can make a hole under walls, hedges, minor roads sections of wooded area’s, patio’s etc. They come in 3 sizes – tiny for single multiple 7mm or single 16mm duct or medium for multiple 16mm or XL.

Below is a short video of working magic under walls and minor roads on SE Route 1.



Unity in Community

The Unity in Community – A perspective.
Having previously lived in Skelsmergh as a child, it was with both excitement and trepidation that I looked forward to living there again, although this time it would be with my husband Phil.
Over the years there have been many changes to the place I used to call home – Skelsmergh Hall Farm. Now no longer a farm housing a whole host of Taylors, but almost a whole hamlet mainly inhabited by people who were strangers to us both and now called Kiln Croft. However, we need not have worried because, with perfect timing, along came B4MS.
From our first contact with our soon to be neighbours at a social event we felt welcomed, people took time to chat and we made our initial introductions and ate cake!  At this same event we first heard of B4MS and the potential opportunity for us and our new neighbours to have ‘Hyper fast broadband ‘. For us it was a no brainier and we signed up.
“ It’s a ‘community ‘ project they said”, “you work to help those who can’t do their own digging, everyone has a role and can do something”,  we were told. Well Phil and I could physically dig so we said we would help our nearest neighbours at Kiln Croft and off we went to purchase some trench spades!
The first community dig day resulted in no digging but lots of talking, planning, sharing of contact details, introductions, reacquainting ourselves with friends from days past and eating cake!! Not necessarily in that order.
Plans were made as to which routes would need digging, both to connect our soon to be new home and all the other dwellings in the Kiln Croft area, and slowly but surely the first tentative trenches were dug. And we ate cake!
Phil and I supported the Kiln Croft team as much as we could with measuring routes, cutting cables to length, rolling meter after meter of cable, getting it in a knot and rolling meter after meter of cable back up again. We dug, drilled,  barrowed, stone picked, carted soil back and forth and sweated companionably. Oh and we ate cake!
But throughout this whole process we chatted, taking time to really get to know everybody, and people took time to get to know us. Now when we do move in to our new home we won’t just say hi, what’s your name, where do you come from? ( a poor version of blind date)! as we wave from a distance. We actually feel we know our new neighbours, we have been invited into their homes, they have shared food with us, made us cups of tea and biscuits, happily let us borrow their tools and equipment, and told us about their families as we have told them about ours. We have made friends.
Without B4MS we would never have really had this opportunity to fully know our nearest neighbours, and we know as the community dig progresses our chance to make new friends and acquaintances will continue! Something we look forward to ( as long as there is cake!)
Hilary and Phil Robinson