In our last update we shared the unwelcome news that, unlike other areas in Cumbria, DCMS had not designated our area as a Gigabit Voucher Priority Area. Had this happened it would have allowed B4RN to proceed with building the fibre optic network which was at an advanced stage of planning.
Since then the b4brathay Team have had extensive discussions about the situation at all levels within B4RN. Detailed costing and modelling was undertaken to determine if there was any conceivable way the project could go ahead in this new environment.
Despite the very best efforts of everyone concerned, the recent DCMS decisions render it impossible for B4RN to progress our project at this stage at any viable cost and an accpetable level of risk.
We must therefore reluctantly accept that the project is “on hold” until such time as DCMS release the results of their regional procurement exercise. We are told that the earliest that this will occur will be in August 2022.
Once this happens we will know if an alternative provider is being appointed for some or all of the area, or whether the area could be given back to B4RN to complete the project as originally conceived (or something resembling this).
The process between now and August is unfortunately opaque to everyone outside of DCMS and their mechanism of closed regional supplier negotiations. As far as we can tell the community has no way of influencing these negotiations.
Please be assured that should the area be handed back to B4RN as a viable voucher area then the plans that we have made, and the high level of support that we have received from our community, would give us a firm basis to get things going again. We will of course let you all know if we hear anything further.
We would like to thank everyone who supported the b4brathay Project.
Signing off for now …
Rob, Paul and the rest of the b4brathay Team