Chartered Engineer Michael Lee has taken on the role of CEO with broadband network B4RN (Broadband for the Rural North) .

Michael hails from Lancashire and studied engineering at Cambridge. His early career was in the army, where he served with the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers and the Royal Dragoon Guards.

He takes up the post from February 15 replacing B4RN founder Barry Forde. who retired late last year.

Addressing B4RN’s army of volunteers, Michael said: “I was so absolutely delighted to accept this role. For me, that’s based on a genuine belief that every household is better off with a B4RN connection. That’s not just because of the speed, but what it means for the communities to have come together in the first place to deliver B4RN.”

Michael added: “I hope there are going to be many days when I can get my wellies on, get out in the fields, and get a bit muddy!” A spokesperson for the Board of Directors said: “B4RN has come a long way in the last eight years and we are delighted that Michael Lee will be joining us. He brings considerable experience in complex and large-scale engineering projects which will enable B4RN to continue the roll out of its industry-leading fibre broadband provision to the dispersed and remote rural communities it serves.”

B4RN has been building a gigabit (1,000Mbps) capable fibre-to-the-premises network since 2011. It reaches into very remote parts of rural Lancashire, Cheshire, Cumbria, Norfolk, the Northeast and Yorkshire.

The not-for-profit Community Benefit Society works under a unique model - it is partly funded by local communities, which volunteer their time and grant free wayleaves to help physically build the infrastructure.

It’s that way of working which has seen B4RN reach locations considered too expensive by commercial operators; while only charging most customers just £30/month for their gigabit symmetrical broadband.

Find out more about B4RN at