Community project secures rural broadband connectivity
The digital divide between remote and rural communities verses large conurbations has long been a concern in the countryside of the UK. In order to tackle this problem, local residents of eight East Lancashire parishes set up a not-for-profit organisation called Broadband 4 Rural North (B4RN), which has provided them with one of the fastest fibre optic networks in the world.
The fibre optics are housed in custom designed fibre to the home (FTTH) enclosures, which have specially designed, environmentally friendly applications. The enclosures, as part of the FTTH structure, are sited in an area of outstanding natural beauty, which stretches across the historic landscapes of the Forest of Bowland and the Lune Valley.
The cabinets are an important part of the infrastructure as they give access to the ultra fast fibres and secure them from an external environment.
‘These enclosures along with the full capacity buried ducts are a far neater solution providing a higher reliability and future proofed solution for generations to come,’ points out one of the B4RN’s team members. The housings supply more capacity than a large telephone exchange which saves space, building materials and minimises the impact on the landscape. Applying bespoke engineering solutions to the design provides an enclosure with low running costs, minimal maintenance requirements and lower energy consumption.
Steve Blackburn, director at Rainford Solutions, a St. Helens based company which provided the enclosures points, says, ‘Electronic equipment needs the correct thermal environment in order to operate correctly. The B4RN enclosures hold complex fibre solutions which must be supported by a robust thermal management system to provide heating and cooling suitable for the equipment. The efficient application of the heat management system allows significant energy conservation.’
The cooling system, with its intelligent speed control extends life of the components, lowers costs related with the energy and material consumption, and further on minimises environmental impact.
The B4RN network will be progressively growing over subsequent years until approximately 15,000 properties in adjoining rural parishes are completely connected to the FTTH network.