The Story of a Farmer who Built her Own Broadband

Christine Conder is the wife of a farmer, but she is no ordinary housewife. The modest home maker has achieved a feat that many go to school for years to gain the necessary skills. This pioneer in do it yourself internet is now the owner of a new internet company that she started herself. Her story is so amazing that we had to take a closer look and report about how this creative and talented woman tried to help a neighbor with an internet problem and ended up building her own broadband company.

The setting is the Lune VAlley in the UK. Christine is a good neighbor and she’s always willing to help out the locals whenever she can. In 2009, the only internet available for Christine and her neighbors was a 28.9 Mbps speed internet provider. The lone mast provided by Lancaster University, the sole internet provider for the area was impinged upon by a line of trees which interfered with the signal. Since there were no other internet alternatives, Chris decided that it was time to do something about it.

She took it upon herself to purchase a kilometer of fiber optic cable and set about the task of developing her own Broadband. She and her husband did the work of digging the trench and connecting each of the farms together. Her farm served as the main base and it fed the neighbor’s farm, solving their connectivity problem. The amazing thing is that it took the farmers just three days to get the job done.

Success achieved

Conder’s system delivers an internet speed of one gigabit a second and it serves the area of the Lune Valley. It offers subscribers speeds thirty five times the speed of the old provider. She named the new Broadband service B4RN, which is novel and entirely appropriate given the circumstances of its development.

Since 2009, B4RN has set more than two thousand mile of fiber optic cable and has established connections with several local communities. This raging high speed service is offered to businesses and households with individuals paying around thirty pounds a month and a connection fee of one hundred and fifty.

Is B4RN Profitable?

The company has not yet turned a profit. It has secured startup money from shareholders who own a portion of the new startup, but the startup costs have piled up and they must first be paid back over time. There is little doubt that B4RN will eventually start ot show profits because of the uniqueness and quality of the broadband service that it supplies to an area that has been in need of an internet alternative.

Recognition for excellence

Chris has been recognized for her brilliant contributions to the communications industry in the area. The Queen of England gave her official accolades in 2015 awarding her the distinguished MBE. The impacts of Chris’ contributions are fairly far reaching for the region as her system allows for much faster, efficient and reliable connectivity for businesses. Time, effort and money are being saved by individuals and businesses who rely upon their internet connection to conduct business transactions. Although there is still some stiff competition out there, B4RN is holding its own and has formed a comfortable niche.

What does the future hold for B4RN?

The future looks bright for the new startup. They’ve signed on a healthy number of customers and are continuing to expand their network. The need for the service is definitely there and as the demand grows, we estimate that the company will take off as it increases the service areas which is a project that is currently underway. Advertising that is spread by word of mouth will continue to bring in new customers but more will be needed in order to truly reach the populations needed to grow the company to its maximum potential.

The country is not yet in the position to provide the support that is necessary for alternative networks such as Chris’ B4RN and she is well aware of the fact. She understands the competition that the company faces yet just as she solved the initial problem of having no good internet alternatives, we’re confident that she will find a way to continue her expansion and make her genius Broadband company a raging success.

Waiting for the country’s infrastructure to catch up is one of the variables that has a tremendous impact on the speed at which Chris will be able to expand. We don’t believe this will present an insurmountable problem for the internet pioneer who has already shown the world what a determined farmers’ wife is truly capable of accomplishing.

Current progress

Of course it’s not possible to cover the entire nation at this point, but the government is cooperating and has established plans to increase the broadband infrastructure for the UK allowing competitors to grab a larger slice of the pie. The current goals include reaching a ninety five percent coverage for the nation in fiber optic cable.

Lessons learned

Chris has set a precedent that shows what can happen when an individual is faced with a frustrating problem that seems to have no immediate solution. How many people do you know that would roll up their sleeves and build their own broadband network? She is an example of how a pioneering spirit can direct energy towards a cause that benefits so many people with one decisive action. Her initial investment in the fiber optic cable and three days of trench digging was just the beginning of a new business that went over and beyond her expectations of simply helping her neighbor to get a better internet connection.

Of course there are always obstacles for any good idea, but those with true vision can see paths around them. They are the bridge builders and serve as inspirational figures that make each of us ask if we have any significant contributions that we could be making as well. Chris Conder is one impressive farmer’s wife and her story is well worth passing on.




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