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Wireless ISP Cornwall Broadband Could Harness Local Church Spires

Tuesday, April 2nd, 2019 (8:12 am) - Score 1,316
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A little known Bude-based fixed wireless access ISP called Cornwall Broadband, which serves homes and businesses across parts of Cornwall and Devon in England, is said to be considering the possibility of expanding their rural network coverage by harnessing local church spires.

According to a recent statement by the Conservative MP for North Cornwall, Scott Mann: “After discussions with the Church Commissioners officer, I am aware that there are no reasons why church spires cannot be used for boosting broadband signals in rural areas. I recently had a good meeting with Cornwall Broadband, a local provider, which would like to open a dialogue with the churches in Cornwall to utilise their spires.”

At this stage the idea is only at a very early stage and any decision is likely to be a matter for the diocese (administrative head), although the UK Government did last year reach a related accord with the National Church Institutions (NCIs) of the Church of England (here). The accord provided a framework for churches to help facilitate such networks but there have been disputes over hefty access charges in some areas (here).

Meanwhile Cornwall Broadband itself claims to offer broadband speeds of up to 500Mbps for businesses, although their residential plans max out at 60Mbps. Prices for their home packages range from £19.99 per month for a 10Mbps (1Mbps) upload service with a 128GB data allowance and rise to £49.99 for their top 60Mbps (6Mbps upload) plan with 512GB usage.

Each package includes the necessary hardware and comes attached to a 24 or 18 month contract term, although the installation charge is subject to survey but typically costs around £100 to £200 (one off). On top of that it’s possible to add “unlimited data” usage to any package and the monthly extra cost for this ranges from +£9.99 to +£6.99, depending upon the plan.

However we note that a Fair Usage Policy (FUP) applies, which is said to prohibit Peer-to-Peer (P2P) file sharing at certain times and generally discourage it at others.

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Mark Jackson
By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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4 Responses
  1. Avatar Guy Cashmore

    This was supposed to be already happening, not ‘very early stage’.

    Almost 3 years ago: https://www.ispreview.co.uk/index.php/2016/05/church-england-help-spread-wireless-broadband-rural-areas.html

    • I believe those were the early discussions that resulted in the 2018 agreement, linked in the article above. The “very early stage” remark refers to the ISP’s request, not the existing agreement (ISP may not be aware of this).

  2. Avatar Clive Cargill

    Not new in Suffolk and council paid for the installation.

  3. Avatar Ian French

    Here at Cornwall Broadband, we approached a local church for access and initially was given there blessing (no pun intended) but once we got past the local hierarchy, we found the blocker at Arch Deacon level. we were looking to install some fairly discreet low impact infrastructure to allow us to reach around 120 rural properties but were informed we needed to apply for a structural survey to be completed. We would only have used 4 100mm anchor bolts but thats part of the process. managed to use a local farmers shed which offered as good a coverage. We intend to ask for access to 3 other local churches where no credible alternative exists… will keep you posted! On a footnote, Thanks for the review.

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