Bath and Wells Diocese's churches to deliver broadband

Church in the Bath and Wells diocese Image copyright Bath and Wells Diocese
Image caption The diocese has said the project will overcome difficulties in getting broadband to rural areas

Bath and Wells Diocese is to use its churches to help deliver superfast broadband to rural areas across the Somerset and Bath area.

In a deal with Wild West Net, church towers will be used as a fixed wireless point to deliver the broadband signal.

Richard Tulloch from the diocese said: "They will provide the technology and equipment and the individual parishes will provide the churches."

The church has said two pilot schemes are in the planning stages.

'Bit of tackle'

Mr Tulloch said: "The Church of England is blessed with this unique benefit of this amazing range of tall buildings in rural areas.

"You've got the height and that's exactly what you need to get good transmission signals to local users."

The church has said the financial aspect of the deal with Wild West Net to use its buildings was confidential but the money raised would be spent on maintaining its buildings and its work in the parish.

"Hopefully this will overcome the serious issues - there is a degree of concern of the quality and speed of the roll out across the country of broadband particularly to rural areas," explained Mr Tulloch.

Once the system is set up, users will sign up on a subscription basis.

The Church of England has its own planning authority known as Diocesan Advisory Committee for the Care of Churches [DAC] so does not obtain planning consent from local authorities.

"What you're talking about is a small bit of tackle," added Mr Tulloch.

"It will be something on short pole about the size of a small dinner plate then a wire comes down inside the building and there's a small box at the bottom of the tower, no bigger than a small filing cabinet."

The two pilot schemes are in Ashbrittle, near Wellington, and on the Somerset Levels.

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