Invest in connecting rural communities to the UK's fastest broadband

Broadband for the Rural North

Picture

“Insufficient and slow broadband is a significant issue in rural UK communities, especially where livelihoods depend on operating effectively online. This bond will enable us to expand our gigabit capable network and bring our service to more underserved rural communities.

We are a community business owned by our 2,500 members. Our community approach is the key to our success as we can install a state-of-the-art network for much lower cost than commercial providers. This investment will help to ensure rural UK communities are no longer the poor relation when it comes to broadband.”

Barry Forde - B4RN CEO

Broadband for the Rural North

Broadband for the Rural North (B4RN) is a growing rural broadband provider founded in 2011. It has connected around 5,000 properties to its own network of over 3,000km of fibre optic cables. Because it is a full fibre network, B4RN provides internet connections that are capable of being 30 times faster than super-fast broadband and hundreds of times faster than the slow upload speeds many rural communities currently have.

B4RN owns the network it has installed and so has a strong asset base which it uses to generate recurring revenues as the broadband provider for the communities. The majority of the network to date has been funded by local residents investing over £5 million in shares in the company.

B4RN operates in an area of high demand from customers and is providing new infrastructure which is a key part of the government’s future telecoms strategy.


Community impact

As a community benefit society, no individual investor or company owns more than 100,000 shares and each member has only one vote, irrespective of the number of shares it or they own. Board members must be re-elected at least every three years and the company is run in the interests of its members and the communities it serves.

B4RN's profits are reinvested back into the community in a variety of ways, for example by providing internet to schools in its network free of charge.

The bond offer

B4RN seeks to raise £3m to fund the further expansion of its broadband network.

Currently community groups are required to raise up to 50% of the installation cost of the network through shares before B4RN can start working in the area. The additional capital raised will enable B4RN to roll out its network more quickly.

Before deciding whether to invest, you must read the B4RN offer document. The offer document can be downloaded at the bottom of this page.


IFISA eligible

B4RN bonds are eligible to be held in a Triodos Innovative Finance ISA (IFISA). As with all ISAs, there are eligibility criteria and you receive interest tax-free.

To invest in B4RN bonds through a Triodos IFISA, select the ‘Invest through IFISA’ option. This selection will open a current year IFISA and hold the bonds within it, or will add the bonds to your existing IFISA if you have opened one previously.


Transferring an existing ISA

If you want to invest by transferring an existing ISA to a Triodos IFISA, you must first request the transfer. You can do this under ‘Account’ once you’ve become a registered user of the platform.

Key terms

Issuer

Broadband for the Rural North Limited (B4RN)

Target amount

£3 million, with maximum capital raise of £5 million.

Term

7 years. Repayment is due on 30 April 2026 but return of capital is not guaranteed. Investors should be prepared not to have access to their capital for the full 7-year term.

Minimum investment

£50

Interest

4.5% gross per year payable on 30 April from 2020. Payment of interest is not guaranteed. Interest will accrue from the date the bonds are issued, 14 days after the closing date.

Repayment

The directors can, at their sole discretion, repay the bonds in part or in full with effect from 30 April 2022.

Security

The bonds are unsecured, so bondholders will rank equally with B4RN’s other unsecured creditors and behind any secured creditors and preferential creditors on insolvency. For more details see page 33 of the offer document.

Covenants

Limits apply on the amount of borrowing that B4RN can take on until the bonds are repaid in full. For more details see page 30 of the offer document.

Transferability

The bonds are transferable but there is no secondary market for them, so you should be prepared to hold them for their full 7-year term.

Timetable

The offer is scheduled to close at noon on 1 July, unless the target has been reached or the offer is extended by the directors at their sole discretion.

Minimum raise

The minimum raise of £1m has already been reached.

Risk warning

Past performance is not an indication of future performance. Capital is at risk and payment of interest is not guaranteed.

Payment of interest and return of capital is not guaranteed and is dependent on the continued success of Broadband for the Rural North's business model.

You can download the offer document without registering or logging in. If you click ‘Next step’ you will need to register.

66%
  • £1,992,410 of £3,000,000
  • 43 days left
  • 66% raised
Minimum investment

£50

Term

7 years

Interest

4.5% per year

Tax relief

IFISA eligible

Next step