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Dark fibre firm Geo Networks provides rural broadband in Lancashire

Jennifer Scott

Geo Networks is teaming up with Broadband for the Rural North (B4RN) to provide superfast internet connections to remote areas in Lancashire.

The company is known for its dark fibre installations – recycling pre-installed fibre optic cables no longer in use – to bring speeds of up to 1Gbps across cities. By teaming with B4RN, it plans to provide the same connections to rural areas.

B4RN is a non-profit organisation that has been working to build a network and roll-out fibre connections to homes across eight parishes in Lancashire which would not be deemed commercially viable by large telecoms providers.

This local network is now set to be connected up to the national peering centre at Manchester Telecity by Geo Networks, which will boost speeds from the initial goal of 100Mbps to a significantly higher 1Gbps.

Barry Forde, CEO of B4RN, said the organisation realised it needed to provide higher bandwidth connections if the project was to be viable and leasing dark fibre was the best way.

“We did look at options from other providers but they aren’t viable for us as they can’t provide flexible capacity at a cost-effective price,” Forde said.

“We chose Geo because it runs a first-class, open-access network with an excellent reliability record.”

“Leasing its fibre enables us to operate at a carrier level to bring superfast internet speeds to those in the remotest of areas. This will make a real difference to people’s quality of life.”

The overall cost of the B4RN project is £1.86m and has so far received no funding from the government, raising all the money from the community itself.

Chris Smedley, CEO of Geo, said: “This is an extremely exciting project which will see some of the remotest parts of the UK enjoying broadband speeds unrivalled to most of the world’s leading business cities.”

“Leasing Geo’s dark fibre is a genuine, future-proof investment decision for the community, which will benefit from reliable and flexible high-capacity services.”

Lancashire County Council has signed a £32m deal with BT to provide broadband across the area, but this would not cover the most rural parts B4RN is working in.


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