UK Government, Church of England Partner on Broadband for Rural Areas

Spires in Britain’s most remote communities will be outfitted with broadband systems to disseminate internet connectivity January 11, 2017

LONDON — Church spires in Britain’s most remote communities will be outfitted with broadband systems to disseminate internet connectivity to surrounding communities. The church-to-internet connectivity will be done via satellite, reports the Telegraph.co.uk.

The Church of England has offered use of its 16,000 churches to help the Tories (the UK’s conservative party) deliver on a promise to bring superfast broadband to more of the country. The government believes the innovative technique can help get the most remote communities traditional broadband delivered by wire cables is too difficult (or expensive).

Matt Hancock, the new digital and culture minister, will meet the Right Reverend Martin Seeley, the Bishop of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich, and other religious figures later this month. Steps have already been taken in the Digital Economy Bill going through Parliament to decrease the cost of using church spires to broadcast broadband.

Hancock confirmed his interest in working with the church to boost rural connections. "Nine out of 10 UK homes and businesses can now get superfast broadband, but getting to the hardest-to-reach places requires an innovative approach and a mix of technologies,” he told The Telegraph. “We're working with the church to explore how spires might form part of the mix and I am meeting with bishops later this month to discuss this.”

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