Home » News » Church spires to be rented as 4G masts for better mobile, broadband and WiFi

Church spires to be rented as 4G masts for better mobile, broadband and WiFi

Church spires to be rented as 4G masts for better mobile, broadband and WiFi

Monday, 19 February, 2018

The Church of England has signed a deal with the government to provide church spires as locations to install new 4G masts to improve mobile signal in rural areas.

Announcing the news, Secretary of State for Digital Matt Hancock MP said the move would boost the quality of mobile signal in the countryside as well as providing faster mobile broadband and WiFi internet for local people.

If the idea goes well, Hancock said his department would look at potentially linking up with leaders of the Jewish and Muslim faiths in England and Wales to see if synagogues or mosques could also host 4G mobile equipment.

Since 2011 the Church of England has allowed telecoms businesses to set up 4G masts inside crumbling and underused church spires.

Some parishioners have expressed fears that allowing private companies to take over church spires would mean a wholesale devaluing of the faith in England.

But church leaders say that decent mobile signal, broadband and WiFi are crucial for improving local life in rural areas.

And they say that an agreement between themselves and Historic England will prevent telecoms companies from installing any equipment that will “affect the character and architectural or historic significance of churches”.

The Bishop of Chelmsford, Rt Revd Stephen Cottrell explained: “Rural churches in particular have always served as a hub for their communities. Encouraging churches to improve connectivity will help tackle two of the biggest issues rural areas face – isolation and sustainability.

“The Diocese of Chelmsford has been pioneering this approach with County Broadband since 2013. Our work has significantly improved rural access to high-speed broadband.”

MAIN IMAGE: Jack Pease Photography/CC BY 2.0

Tom Rodgers author picture

By:

Tom is a tech journalist and former Editor at BroadbandDeals.co.uk.

News What's the story?

Keep up with the latest developments in UK broadband.

UK ISPs remove data caps during pandemic

The UK’s biggest broadband providers have agreed not to limit internet allowances during the current crisis.

UK ISPs remove data caps during pandemicUK ISPs remove data caps during pandemic Read more

The rise and rise of Chinese tech firms

Read more

The new homes with 1GB broadband connections

Why a new build offers your best chance for full-fibre speeds

Read more

What are ISPs and internet services doing to help during the Coronavirus crisis?

Read more

Help Learn with us

Make the most of the internet with our broadband library.

Can you access the Dark Web without the Tor browser?

Can you access the Dark Web without the Tor browser?Can you access the Dark Web without the Tor browser? Read more

The best music streaming services

Read more

How mesh WiFi can improve home broadband

Read more