Various churches throughout the United Kingdom will help the British government improve rural wireless connectivity, the administration announced Sunday. The National Church Institutions of the Church of England signed an accord with a number of government agencies that encourages them to participate in the process of improving their local communities' access to the World Wide Web. Besides mobile networks, the churches also ought to assist in bettering broadband and Wi-Fi coverage in their areas, the accord reads. The nature of the agreement doesn't make it legally binding for any individual parish, with churches being encouraged to explore new opportunities in all segments of connectivity that are within their abilities.
The move still isn't expected to lead to major infrastructural deployments on church properties, many of which are legally protected from having their historic and architectural significance affected by any kind of redevelopment projects. As part of the same agreement, the British government vowed to be at the disposal of any parish or diocese seeking advice on how to approach the process of improving Internet connectivity in their area. The accord may also pave the way for full-fledged collaborations between the UK and some churches interested in partnering on such efforts in a more legally binding manner. Other religious communities with vast real estate holdings may also reach similar agreements with the UK, according to London's official statement on the matter. Over 120 British parish churches are already participating in delivering mobile and broadband services to their local communities in a variety of ways, from operating satellite dishes and wireless transmitters to managing optical fiber infrastructure. All 16,000 church buildings in the country are eligible to contribute to the initiative to various degrees, the religious organization confirmed.
The issue of rural Internet access is one that developed nations have recently started tackling with increased ferocity as digital connectivity is expected to play an even more important role in the global economy going forward. 5G deployment is promising to revolutionize a broad range of industries but requires extremely dense networks, whereas many Western nations are still struggling with delivering reliable high-speed Internet access to their rural regions using existing technologies. The FCC recently called for a $500 million investment in rural broadband, whereas some startups looking to disrupt the wireless industry are pursuing unconventional solutions such as Internet-relaying blimps.