Funding chests open in quest for faster broadband for rural Norfolk

MDEP-08-07-2017-007  Michael Davey and David Evans of B4RNorfolk with members of the Tivetshall community
MDEP-08-07-2017-007 Michael Davey and David Evans of B4RNorfolk with members of the Tivetshall community

An independent and community-run broadband network has taken another step in its plan to get East Anglia up to speed for the digital world.

Broadband for the Rural North Ltd (B4RN) is opening four ‘funding chests’ in East Anglia for people who wish to invest in B4RN to make affordable hyperfast broadband a reality.

We are hoping that most residents will invest at least £100 for 3 years with many choosing to invest £1500 to get the free connection and some investing significantly more to make the most of the 30 per cent EIS tax relief

Michael Davey

The chests will be in Shimpling, Gissing, and a combined chest for Billingford, Thelveton and Upper Street. There is also a general funding chest for the East Anglia region, which can be directed to develop the network generally.

B4RN East Anglia says it hopes that most individuals in the first three communities will buy at least £100 worth of shares in order to become members of the society.

Those investors buying at least £1,500 worth of shares will be able to designate a property within the B4RN coverage area, which B4RN will connect without payment of the £150 connection charge.

The rules surrounding B4RN shares are designed to be compatible with HMRC’s Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS), which gives a 30 per cent tax relief against the value of the shares purchased.

B4RN’s share scheme has received a pre-approval certificate confirming eligibility for EIS relief.

Mr Michael Davey, B4RN East Anglia’s volunteer regional director, said: “We are hoping that most residents will invest at least £100 for 3 years with many choosing to invest £1500 to get the free connection and some investing significantly more to make the most of the 30 per cent EIS tax relief.”

B4RN East Anglia volunteer director David Evans said: “B4RN will provide people with faster broadband that will not go out of date the minute it is installed – it will be future-proof.

“We are currently in the stage of mapping homes in villages that have expressed interest in the service.”

B4RN will provide superfast broadband with installation and use of fibre optics from a central point directly to individual homes and businesses to give unprecedented high-speed internet access, 40 to 1,120 times faster than currently available in rural East Anglia.

For more information or for an apply, go to b4rn.org.uk/resources/.