The agreement between Defra, DCMS and the Church of England will help broadband providers to install equipment such as wireless transmitters, satellite receivers and fibre optic cables inside churches to bring modern broadband connectivity to local communities.
Churches can be ideally suited for this purpose. Not only are they a common sight even in small rural villages but church spires are often among the tallest structures in the area, making them perfect for deploying wireless broadband.
Guidance from the CoE and Historic England has recommendations for the installation of telecoms equipment so churches can ensure the work remains unobtrusive and does not disturb bats and other wildlife.
There are already ISPs using churches for broadband, such as WiSpire in Norfolk which works in association with the Diocese of Norfolk. But it’s hoped that this new agreement will encourage similar projects in the rest of the country by making it easier for broadband suppliers to install equipment in more than 10,000 churches around the UK. And as well as plugging gaps in broadband coverage, the additional income could help ease the burden of maintaining many old buildings.