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DIY Broadband Comes To The English Countryside

Filed by KOSU News in World News.
February 15, 2013

In a fast-moving world, people from all over have demanded faster Internet speeds. But when you live out in the middle of nowhere, you can feel like you’re in the Internet slow lane because broadband just isn’t available.

Residents of England’s rural Lancashire decided that enough was enough with their slow, limited connections. They came to the conclusion that no major supplier would be out their way anytime soon, the BBC reports. Broadband companies said it would be too expensive to wire up the sparsely populated area.

So Lancashire residents took matters into their own hands and created B4RN (pronounced “barn”) — Broadband for the Rural North.

Funded and operated by volunteers in the community, B4RN digs trenches to lay the fiber optic wires necessary to connect the residents to super-high-speed Internet for less than $50 per month.

A few locals have already been hooked up to the local network and their once ancient and tired computers are catching up with the times. Resident Harry Ball tells the BBC he’s thrilled to be getting download speeds of 500 Mbps. “That’s fabulous, isn’t it?” he says.

By comparison, the average U.S. Internet connection speed is a pokey 7.2 Mbps and the U.K. average is 6.3 Mbps, according to Akamai. But both lag behind South Korea, which averages 14.7 Mbps (with average peaks of 48.8 Mbps).

Watch the BBC’s report.

Lizzy Duffy is an intern on NPR’s Social Media Desk. [Copyright 2013 NPR]

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