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Churches to Boost Rural Connectivity

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An agreement between the National Church Institutions of the Church of England, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), and the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) will encourage the use of Church of England property and buildings to improve the availability of broadband, mobile and WiFi connectivity for many rural residents. With 65% of Anglican churches and 66% of parishes in rural parts of the country, the Church of England is well placed to help the government achieve its commitment to provide everyone with access to fast and reliable connectivity. DCMS minister, Matt Hancock, described churches as central features and valued assets for local communities, and was clearly inspired by the fact that even buildings from the 15th century and earlier would now be called on to make Britain fit for the future. And to ensure that the future does not impact adversely on our heritage, both the Church and Historic England will be called upon to prevent telecoms infrastructure impacting on the architectural and historic significance of our rural church building. Apparently there are already over 120 examples of broadband and mobile services being delivered from parish churches employing everything from wireless transmitters in church spires and church towers to aerials, satellite dishes and fibre cables. With over 16,000 church buildings available in 12,500 parishes, the connection prospects for rural residents are certainly looking better.

Posted in: Home Farmer Blog

About the Author:

Paul Melnyczuk is editor of Home Farmer, and together with Ruth Tott is the founder of the company. His Ukrainian father and Austrian mother came over in the 1950s, and he was raised near Accrington (of Stanley fame) in Lancashire. With a degree in European Literature and a year spent living in Sweden, and a further 2 years in the Sudan, his background is rich and varied.

1 Comment on "Churches to Boost Rural Connectivity"

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  1. Diane Smith says:

    Our little North Lancashire village has been connected up to the fastest broadband in Britain. It is B4RN (broadband for the rural north) it started at a farmhouse above Lancaster, where there was a generator for electricity, bottled gas, a septic tank. BT wouldn’t stretch to putting in their “Open reach”. So the farming community did it themselves.
    It then spread to the rural villages around Lancaster, eventually reaching just north of Carnforth.
    Each village dug the broadband in themselves, fibre straight into the house and each village picked up how to do it from the village before. But our village had to bring it over the canal, the M6 and the main west coast rail line and then the A6. People of all ages dug for England, the WI came out with tea and cakes, neighbours who previously didn’t know one another dug trenches for each other and now that the digging is done, meet in the local pubs. So new friends made.
    B4RN has now gone onward towards Silverdale, junction 36 and is now onward to Ingleton and Dent.
    Its an amazing story of what people can do if they’ get together.
    If you are interested in B4RN, look on their website, this a non profit co-operative organisation. And we have found that friends who live in towns and cities are very jealous of us. Even Prince Charles came up and learned how to splice fibre for us. Our little Church of England in the village, even had it installed there, in order to live Skype weddings to people who couldn’t come to the wedding. The first time we used it was to live Skype a funeral to Australia. And it works.

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