DIY Broadband Comes To The English Countryside | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

NPR : News

DIY Broadband Comes To The English Countryside

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. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

Novelist Nuruddin Farah: Facing A Blank Page Is 'Bravest Thing' A Writer Does

Farah's latest is called Hiding in Plain Sight. It's the story of Bella, a Somali photographer living in Rome who gets drawn into the lives of her niece and nephew after her half-brother is killed.
NPR

Tracing A Gin-Soaked Trail In London

Around the world, new gin distilleries are popping up like mushrooms after a rain. NPR traces the boom to its historic roots in London, which once had 250 distilleries within the city limits alone.
NPR

Ballot Questions Draw Voters In 43 States

Ballot measures cover a lot of ground this year — from minimum wage to school calendars to one involving doughnuts and bear hunting. NPR's Charlie Mahtesian takes NPR's Scott Simon through the list.
NPR

Tech Week: Voice Mail Hang-Ups, Apple Pay And Zuckerberg's Chinese

In this week's roundup, Apple rolls out its mobile payment system but confronts a security test in China, the problem with voice mail messages and Mark Zuckerberg shows off his Mandarin.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.