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Juniper Networks & B4RN partner to boost rural connectivity in Northern England
Thu, 15th Feb 2024

Creators of AI-Native Networking solutions, Juniper Networks, have announced a partnership with Broadband for the Rural North (B4RN). The collaboration aims to provide high-performance and resilient internet connections to previously underserved rural communities. The benefits, they claim, will extend not only to homes and businesses, but also to areas of community importance such as village halls, places of worship, and primary schools.

B4RN, with the technological assistance of Juniper, hopes to bridge the digital divide experienced by over 13,000 rural households, small villages, farms, and dispersed settlements in Northern England. Juniper's core and aggregation routing platforms, known for high-performance and industry-leading sustainability, have already been put to use, with strong positive impact. Each customer enjoys a minimum 1-Gbps symmetrical internet connection, enabling smooth streaming of entertainment, efficient remote working, and reliable connectivity with friends and family.

One of the particularly significant implications of this partnership is the enhancement of remote learning possibilities, a timely initiative considering current worldwide adjustments to traditional education models. Indeed, children in these rural areas who previously lacked sufficient internet access for remote learning can now complete their schoolwork seamlessly from home.

The modernisation motion also extends to farming practices, as dairy farmers now can technologically manage livestock. It ensures a more efficient agricultural operation by introducing techniques like automated milking and digital tags. The comprehensive initiative aims to effect digital transformation on several detachments of rural life.

The resilient network that B4RN has built, using Juniper's MX and ACX routing solutions, spans an area of 2,300 square kilometers. The network stretches from Manchester to Leeds, with planned expansions to include Leeds to Newcastle areas. The circulation of the service through a subterranean placement of B4RN's fibre ensures consistency and stability of the service, regardless of adverse weather conditions in the region.

Juniper's MX304 Universal Routing Platform has proved crucial to the future-proofing of B4RN's network infrastructure. The device enables superior efficiency and resilience, even in environments with limited space and power, thereby facilitating an extension of services to more rural communities. Similarly, Juniper's ACX7100 Cloud Metro Routers are deployed to support an advanced 400G network, delivering FTTH services to rural customers. These devices known for high bandwidth ports, compact size and low power consumption, reflect B4RN's commitment to technological efficiency.

IT solution provider Kubus, a partner of Juniper, has been instrumental in assisting and advising B4RN regarding their technological decisions and the core network upgrade. Speaking on the collaboration, Michael Lee, Chief Executive Officer, B4RN, said, "With a 400G-ready Juniper network, we can bring the benefits of digital connectivity to rural communities for generations to come.”

Colin Evans, Senior Director, Business Development, Juniper Networks, said they were proud to work with B4RN in “weaving a digital fabric across the villages and farms of rural North England."