The governent is looking towards the heavens in its bid to redeem rural broadband speeds, having exhausted all other options.
The inspirational idea is an agreement between the Church of England and the government to encourage parishes to use their buildings to boost broadband, mobile and Wi-Fi connectivity.
According to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, 65 per cent of Anglican churches and 66 per cent of parishes in England are in rural areas – making them ideal outposts for sticking some telecoms infrastructure on.
“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," said culture secretary and one-man brand Matt Hancock.
Some churches have already sacrificed themselves for the good cause, with 120 having some kind of kit in or on them. This includes having aerials, satellite dishes or fibre cables installed, or putting wireless transmitters in their spires or towers.
But there are 16,000 church buildings across England, and so the government is praying the new agreement will expand the scheme.
The government emphasised, though, that the deal comes with guidance to ensure the telcos’ kit “does not impact on the character and architectural or historic significance of churches”.
The bishop of Chelmsford, the right reverend Stephen Cottrell, said he hoped the deal would “help rural churches consider how they can be part of the solution” to improve internet access.
We can only presume vicars won’t mind their parishioners gaining speedy access to some of the kind of nasty things there are on the web. ®