How church steeples boost wifi connectivity in rural communities

The Church of England is working with the UK Government to boost connectivity in hard to reach areas.

Rural communities with little or no wireless internet are getting an unlikely boost from churches hosting satellite dishes.

St Giles Church in rural Essex is the thing that you may expect of a 15th Century parish church.

The stone building is on a small hill surrounded by acres of green valleys, farms and a smattering of houses. It is right amidst the town of Great Maplestead.

Be that as it may, look carefully and you will recognize this medieval church has some very modern additions.

Perched on the church tower is a little satellite dish and four telecoms transmitters that give fast broadband to around 120 nearby households, which already had no or limited coverage.

The antenna was installed two years back by a broadband operator that has some expertise in connecting rural communities to the internet.

The church is paid rent for facilitating the kit, which has been carefully planned and camouflaged so as not deface the aesthetic of the ancient building.

“Some people were worried that we were going to damage the church,” vicar Revd Gay Ellis revealed to Sky News.

“Or that it would look out of place, or is it right for us as a Church to be doing this sort of thing?”

“But the more we got involved in it, and the more people understood about it, they realised that this was really part of the Church’s mission. This was a type of ministry.”

The Government has perceived the part that rural parish churches can play in enhancing internet and mobile connectivity.

Some in the range of 65% of Anglican churches and 66% of parishes in England are in rural regions and their central village areas and tall spires mean they are regularly very much set to address connectivity and coverage problems.

Another understanding between the Government and the Church of England would like to streamline the process of mobile and broadband operators getting the equipment installed.

The agreement is intended to eliminate on bureaucracy and red-tape and make it simpler for individual parishes to settle on their own choices over the installation.

There is clear guidance to guarantee the telecoms infrastructure does not affect on the character and architectural or historic significance of the church building.

Matt Hancock, Minister for Digital, Media, Culture and Sport, stated: “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.”

At present, around 5% of UK households do not have access to superfast broadband, and 10% of the UK does not have reliable mobile phone coverage.

That was the situation in Great Maplestead. Be that as it may, the presentation of the antenna on the church tower now implies local residents now have access to internet speeds of up to 40MB/s for both upload and download.


Source: Katerina Vittozzi | Sky News