Churches have answered the prayers for better rural broadband in the UK
If you’ve resorted to begging a higher power to do something about the poor connectivity in your rural community, the Church of England is finally heeding the call.
The C of E has broken bread with the UK government and has agreed for church spires to be used to boost broadband, Wi-Fi and mobile data quality in underserved areas of the country.
The accord between the C of E and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) will also see church-owned buildings become hubs for better internet service.
In a press release on Monday, the government said 65% of Anglican churches and 66% of parishes are in rural communities, meaning they’re them well served to ‘spread the good word’ in an entirely new way.
Matt Hancock, the secretary of state for the DCMS said: “Churches are central features and valued assets for local communities up and down the country. This agreement with the Church of England will mean that even a 15th century building can help make Britain fit for the future improving people’s lives by boosting connectivity in some of our hardest-to-reach areas.”
Any infrastructure changes involving the church buildings cannot affect the character and architecture of the buildings, the government says.
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Prior to today’s announcement, the scheme had been piloted in Norwich and Chelmsford.
The Bishop of Chelmsford, Rt Revd Stephen Cottrell, said: “We know that rural churches in particular have always served as a hub for their communities. Encouraging churches to improve connectivity will help tackle two of the biggest issues rural areas face – isolation and sustainability.
“The Diocese of Chelmsford has been pioneering this approach with County Broadband since 2013. Our work has significantly improved rural access to high-speed broadband.”
The initiative is part of the government’s promise to offer 4G and ‘super fast’ broadband to everyone in the UK by 2020.
Are you in a rural area still struggling for acceptable connectivity? Let us know where you’re at @TrustedReviews on Twitter.