Spires for Hire in U.K. Broadband Deal With Church of EnglandBy
Towers to be used to improve internet access in remote areas
Some parishes are already using structures to improve access
Rural church towers won’t just be a source of inspiration under a deal between U.K. government and the Church of England, many will also help you get a Wi-Fi connection.
The Church of England struck a deal with the U.K. government departments to encourage the church to “use its buildings and other property to improve broadband, mobile and Wi-Fi connectivity for local communities,” the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport said in a statement on Sunday.
The accord, also involving the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, expands on an initiative that already exists in some dioceses in the U.K. including Chelmsford and Norwich.
“Our work has significantly improved rural access to high-speed broadband,” Bishop Stephen Cottrell of Chelmsford said in the statement.
About 65 percent of Anglican churches and 66 percent of parishes in England are in rural areas, according to the government.
The accord includes rules to ensure that any telecommunication infrastructure used doesn’t affect the character and architecture of the churches, according to the statement. The DCMS also said similar deals could be made with other religious communities.
The announcement follows last year’s pledge by the U.K. government that no part of the country or group in society should be without adequate connectivity, a pledge that includes the complete roll-out of 4G and superfast broadband by 2020.
Last month, the government announced that superfast broadband was now available to more than 19 out of 20 homes and businesses in the U.K.