B4RN brings fiber Internet to North England farms and homes

Broadband for the Rural North (B4RN) works hand-in-hand with communities to bring fast, affordable fiber Internet services to homes, farms, and villages across the fells and farms of rural North England.

A decade after connecting its first customers, the community benefit society provider upgraded and expanded its network with Juniper routing to make broadband services available to more digitally underserved communities.


Company Broadband for the Rural North (B4RN)
Industry Government and Non-Profit
Products used MX SeriesACX Series
Region EMEA
Broadband for the Rural North (B4RN) Hero
Customer Success At-a-glance


Customers, including 220 community organizations, receive free Internet service


Square kilometers of a full-fiber network


Broadband Provider of the Year and Community Improvement Awards, 2022 and Best Rural ISP, 2021 and 2022, Connected Britain


Increase in core network capacity


Internet for the community, by the community

“B4RN is Internet without compromise,” says Michael Lee, CEO of B4RN. “We reach 100% of properties in a community, no matter how remote.”

B4RN services rural areas in the north of England across Lancashire, Cumbria, North Yorkshire and into Northumberland. It is now creating a resilient ring network in the North of England to support all existing and future communities with the expansion timed around the refresh of its aging backbone network equipment.

The upgrade will see B4RN’s backhaul speeds increase tenfold to 400 Gbps around the entire ring, allowing the distribution of the network deep into rural communities at 100-Gbps aggregation speeds. The design brings full fiber into every home from the cabinet, providing “belt and braces” for future growth and adoption of new technology. With the upgrade, B4RN can secure the long-term operation of the core network, allowing new communities to connect, and gain additional benefits, such as offering backhaul services to the industry.

B4RN is a different kind of ISP: It works with local communities to design, plan, and install the full-fiber access networks that deliver low-cost or free gigabit-speed Internet services. Community contributions are integral, with individual community investors and many volunteers helping B4RN as it plans the fiber routes across agricultural lands, digs trenches for the fiber conduits, and sets up Internet kits at customer sites.

B4RN Challenge

Resilient, future-ready network

“We worked closely with B4RN to help evaluate the leading routing vendors on the market, and Juniper offered the most scalable  and highest performance routing solution at the best cost with the best technology,” says Alex Hammond, client director at Kubus, the IT solution provider that advised B4RN on its technology decisions and assisted with the network upgrade.

The Juniper MX304 Universal Router future-proofs B4RN’s core network, delivering high performance, resilience, and efficiency to allow B4RN to serve more rural communities in the North of England. The MX304 router offers massive scale and density in a two-rack-unit form factor that’s ideal for space- and power-constrained environments while providing full-scale BNG (Broadway Network Gateway) capabilities.

B4RN uses the Juniper ACX7100 Cloud Metro Router to facilitate deployment of its cutting-edge 400G network in Northern England and to provide fiber-to-the-home services in rural locations. The ACX routers are used as aggregation devices within the metro networks to connect the rural access sites and bring 400G deeper into the network than would be possible with alternative 400G-enabled devices.

The ACX7100 was chosen because of its high-bandwidth 100G and 400G ports, compact one-rack-unit size, and low power consumption, making it ideal to deliver high-bandwidth, low-latency broadband to customers. The ACX71000 also aligns with B4RN’s commitment to technological efficiency, supported by the pay-as-you-grow Juniper Flex Licensing Model, which aids in mitigating initial CapEx and provides scalability, allowing B4RN to expand its network in Northern England with flexibility and foresight.

B4RN Solution

Keeping communities connected

B4RN connects more than 13,000 customers in rural homes, small villages, farms, and dispersed settlements. More than 220 community organizations, including village halls, places of worship, and 44 primary schools, have free Internet. People living in the countryside can enjoy the Internet with the same or better speeds as city dwellers.

Every customer has at least a 1-Gbps symmetrical Internet connection, so people can easily stream their favorite entertainment, play games, work from home, and stay connected with friends and family. Children who lacked fast Internet for remote learning during the pandemic now can easily do their schoolwork at home. Dairy farmers can automate milking or use digital tags to keep track of their herds.

Additionally, B4RN’s fiber network is 100% underground with no pole infrastructure, which provides the next level of service resilience in a region with lots of windy and wet weather. This design decision sets B4RN’s network apart from other providers in the area.

B4RN’s network spans 2,300-square kilometers, an area bigger than London. With a scalable network that extends from Manchester to Leeds, and next from Leeds to Newcastle, B4RN provides an exceptional customer experience as it provides rural communities with equal access to digital services.

B4RN Outcome
“B4RN strives to deliver the best Internet service in the country in the areas that are hardest to reach. With a 400G-ready Juniper network, we can bring the benefits of digital connectivity to rural communities for generations to come.”
Tom Rigg COO, B4RN
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B4RN Delivers Connectivity to Rural Areas with Juniper Networks

Published February 2024