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The Internet United Kingdom News

British Farmers Growing Their Own Internet Service 178

Posted by Soulskill
from the bring-tucows-over-to-spread-e-fertilizer dept.
pigrabbitbear writes "Look outside of your window: if you see miles of farmland, chances are you have terrible internet service. That's because major telecommunications companies don't think it's worth the investment to bring high-speed broadband to sparsely populated areas. But like most businesses, farms increasingly depend on the internet to pay bills, monitor the market and communicate with partners. In the face of a sluggish connection, what's a group of farmers to do? Grow their own, naturally. That's what the people of Lancashire, England, are doing. Last year, a coalition of local farmers and others from the northwestern British county began asking local landowners if they could use their land to begin laying a brand-new community-owned high-speed network, sparing them the expense of tearing up roads. Then, armed with shovels and backhoes, the group, called Broadband for the Rural North, or B4RN (it's pronounced 'barn'), began digging the first of what will be approximately 180,000 meters of trenches and filling them with fiber-optic cable, all on its own."
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British Farmers Growing Their Own Internet Service

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  • It's a race (Score:5, Insightful)

    by paiute (550198) on Wednesday February 27, 2013 @06:34PM (#43029293)
    Who will be faster - the ditch diggers or the telecom lobbyists demanding the end to such community ditch digging?
  • Re:Or... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Microlith (54737) on Wednesday February 27, 2013 @06:36PM (#43029303)

    Forming a private cooperative to build their own internet infrastructure seems like a perversion of the crony capitalist system that is the foundation of western society.

    Oh please. You know what's "crony capitalist?" Bullshit like states banning municipal broadband at the demand of local telco monopolies so that they don't have to compete with better service.

    We've already tried forcing them to spread into more rural areas, all they did was raise rates and mark up impressive profits.

  • Re:Or... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mk1004 (2488060) on Wednesday February 27, 2013 @06:44PM (#43029357)
    Power and telephone service to rural areas were subsidized in the US, back before everyone got the "no one else can play with my stuff" attitude that permeates this country today. Internet access could be done the same way, and probably would have been if it had been developed in the '50s. For that matter, nationalized healthcare probably could have been done too. Yes, I'm sure some people didn't like the power/telephone subsidizes back then, but there were enough people who thought it was the right thing to do.
  • Re:It's a race (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 27, 2013 @07:07PM (#43029545)

    Who will be faster - the ditch diggers or the telecom lobbyists demanding the end to such community ditch digging?

    You do realise this is a story about Britain, don't you? Maybe it's different where you're from but here BT really couldn't give a monkey's what farmers get up to in the places where they themselves can't be bothered to lay down decent lines. Nor do they "lobby" together with their competitors... on account of them not really having any when it comes to telephone infrastructure.

    I might as well just give up hope of ever getting a story about the UK where the comments section isn't nearly-instantly filled with Americans who have very little idea of how things are different here and instead of asking questions - never mind insightful or thought-provoking ones - just post comments about how it would work in places that the story isn't referring to. Anything that is worth reading just ends up buried in a sea of irrelevances.

  • Re:Or... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by TsuruchiBrian (2731979) on Wednesday February 27, 2013 @07:13PM (#43029603)

    In all seriousness why do we want access in rural areas to be subsidized? If it is expensive to bring access to these places, why shouldn't it be the ones who want it to pay for it?

    Economies of scale is one of the benefits of living in an urban area. You get cheap internet, cheap water, cheap electricity, cheap garbage collection, cheap sewer, etc. When you live out in the boonies the land is cheap, but you don;t get the benefits of living in a metropolis.

    If you want to live in the forest, that's awesome. If you want high speed internet in the forest, then I support allowing you to have the fewest restrictions possible to allow you to pay for that getting that infrastructure yourself. I don't think it's fair to subsidize rural internet costs anymore than it would be fair to subsidize rent in urban because it's "too expensive". The free market decides what things cost, and we should be trying to achieve a free market (externalities accounted for) so that everyone pays the true cost of what they consume (people, corporations, everybody).

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 27, 2013 @07:23PM (#43029691)

    There was a time when the same sort of thing would happen in the USA, but who in the USA today would dare run afoul of one of the literally thousands of Federal regulations that MIGHT apply to them?

    The Federal government is so powerful that it's created a generation of Americans that sit frozen unable to solve problems for themselves out of fear that some distance authority will swoop in and punish them. There is nothing anymore that can be done without their permission.
    Land of the free and home of the brave? Hardly.

    I have a pretty radical socialist Czech friend living in the US that said that the problem with American politics is that it requires everyone agree. Every problem has to solved at the federal level and it prevents things from getting done.

    When even a European socialist complains that the US central government is too powerful, you know there is a problem.

  • Re:Or... (Score:1, Insightful)

    by khallow (566160) on Wednesday February 27, 2013 @07:36PM (#43029803)

    Power and telephone service to rural areas were subsidized in the US, back before everyone got the "no one else can play with my stuff" attitude that permeates this country today.

    Ever wonder how the "no one else can play with my stuff" attitude came about? If the politicians had stopped long ago with stuff like the above, it wouldn't even be an issue. There wouldn't be enough people to care to obstruct your sort of proposal. But since a significant fraction of the US's economy is just being shuffled around as a result, it has become an issue.

  • Re:Or... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 27, 2013 @10:43PM (#43031089)
    I guess you live in a place with competing privated fire departments which will let your house burn down if you haven't signed up with them beforehand and are unwilling/unable to pay the "full rescue price" for your house.

    And the premium is higher since for the same area there might be more fire trucks than necessary.
  • Re:Or... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 27, 2013 @10:53PM (#43031145)

    Ever wonder how the "no one else can play with my stuff" attitude came about?

    It comes from the freeloaders that benefited from these improvements all their life but don't want to do anything for their kids.

    Did I get that right?

    It certainly wasn't the boomers that were building anything in the 50s or 60s. But they are certainly the ones with a giant sense of entitlement and the "not paying for that!" attitude.

  • by Nefarious Wheel (628136) on Wednesday February 27, 2013 @11:29PM (#43031315) Journal

    Or, publish a completely off-topic rant that annoys everyone who came here for intelligent commentary. Oh, and post it A/C.

  • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Thursday February 28, 2013 @03:44AM (#43032253) Journal

    Telecoms lose money in rural areas. Even with phone service

    That's debatable. The value of the phone network is that it can reach pretty much anyone that you want to be able to reach. A phone network that only covered major cities would be a lot less valuable to everyone. Lots of people didn't bother getting phones until coverage was almost universal, because there's no point if they can't use it to call their rural relatives. You may lose money on the individual lines, but you gain money from all of the people who join because those lines exist.

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