Church spires to help boost wireless broadband across rural areas

A new agreement by DCMS and Defra with the Church of England will help improve mobile, Wi-Fi and broadband connectivity, across the rural areas, with the use of church spires in the UK. The government has signed an accord with the National Church Institutions (NCI) of the Church of England, to use its buildings and other property to enable any faster wireless broadband and Wi-Fi services to be distributed across rural communities.

Churches can be seen as one of thetallest structures in rural parts and their towers, or spires, can be adopted to be used for Fixed Wireless Access, or Wi-Fi, or for Mobile Broadband networks locally. However, this idea now of using church spires for such purposes is not new . Some ISPs like WiSpire in Norfolk have been at it for a long time, partnering with the Dioceses of Norwich and Chelmsford.

The agreement drawn between the government and the Church is no surprise, as the government had expressed their desire earlier to work with the Church to encourage and support deployment of networks to rural areas. The Church of England has 16,000 churches under its tutelage. Today’s accord apparently paves the way for possible similar accords with other faith communities in the future.

The new guidance ensures telecoms infrastructure doesn’t impact adversely the churches on its historical, character or architectural significance. The government will also provide advice to church organisations to enable them to support deployment or projects. Churches will be able to explore options to best serve their communities.

Wireless networks are most likely to be used, although satellite and traditional fibre cable, or fibre fed wireless networks too are suggested by the government. Secretary of State, Matt Hancock, who heads DCMS, said the agreement means even a 15th century church building can improve people’s lives by boosting connectivity across some of the hardest-to-reach areas.

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