Considering everyone from professional sportsmen and women, to TV fraudsters call upon the lord to help them with their task at hand, perhaps asking for aid with rural internet speeds isn't such a bad thing. Churches around the UK could soon begin bolstering local wireless performance by utilising their spires and towers for broadcasting.
This will be possible because of the Church of England, which has offered to allow 10,000 of its churches across the UK to help improve internet speeds for those in more rural areas. It's hoped that this initiative could help reach national targets of making sure every home has access to fast, 10Mbps+ internet by 2020.
“Church spires are ideally located in remote rural areas to allow point-to-point broadband coverage. The offer from the church commissioners is greatly appreciated, and we are working closely with our colleagues in the Department for Culture, Media and Sport to take advantage of the technological opportunities,” said rural affairs minister, Rory Stewart (via the Guardian).
Although there have been some concerns in local areas regarding health effects from the wireless signal, or the visual implications of adding the connective hardware to the spires, those involved have downplayed them. There are no proven health risks and installation is said to not compromise the look of the churches.
The CoE can be paid for the installation too, so everyone sees it as a win/win.
Previous schemes have seen the CoE offer wireless internet coverage for 2.5 miles around 47 churches across the country. Although this was provided through the CoE owned WiSpire, it's not clear if a new initiative for the other churches around the country would do the same.
Many of those expected to benefit from this plan are farmers. Their remote locations often mean that their internet coverage is poor at best and in many cases non-existent. It's thought however that high-speed connections could help revolutionise farming through drone usage, vehicle tracking, analytics of farming efficiency and more.
Because of this, the Countryside Alliance, which has previously criticised government attempts to extend rural broadband services, has praised the move to add wireless towers to the churches.
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KitGuru Says: This seems like a good move to utilise existing infrastructure to offer good coverage in hard-to-reach areas. A little extra income for the church can't hurt either, helping maintain many of the country's oldest buildings.