To ask the right hon. Member for Meriden, representing the Church Commissioners, what progress has been made on identifying parish churches suitable for wi-fi and broadband in rural areas.
2 March 2017
Churches across the Country play an important role in supporting community infrastructure for their local communities. The Diocese of Norwich since 2011 have been the majority shareholder in WiSpire which provides discreet Fixed Wireless Access technology to attach to church towers. This system builds a network of transmitters offering schools, businesses and residents the opportunity to connect to Wi-Fi and broadband particularly in rural areas.
The Church is in early discussions to expand this provision into the Diocese of St Edmundsbury & Ipswich and Diocese of Ely. Given the geography of the Diocese of Lincoln it may be a suitable candidate for consideration as the project expands as best provision using this system needs direct line of sight. Conversations are also in progress with the Government to test viability of this and other potential schemes across other parts of the country.