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Church Steeples to Improve Welsh Broadband Coverage

Posted: 30th May, 2008 By: MarkJ
Telecomms Facilities, a Pembrokeshire based wireless company, has proposed the idea of installing Wi-Fi transmitters at the top of church spires to aid in closing Wales' rural broadband coverage gaps.

icWales.co.uk reports that the proposals have been given a warm welcome by broadband campaigners and the Church in Wales. The move could also bring additional revenue streams, helping with the upkeep of parishes:

“Despite BT’s claim that over 99% of Wales is broadband enabled, there are still many hundreds of mostly rural communities throughout the country who are unable to access the internet via a broadband connection,” said TFL’s director, Jonathan England.

“Over the last few years, TFL has been broadband enabling many of these communities via its own wireless transmitter infrastructure, and the need to situate our transmitters at the highest point within a rural ‘notspot’ area has invariably led us to the conclusion that local church towers could provide us with the breakthrough we are looking for in order to give Wales 100% broadband coverage.

The church would see an additional source of much-needed income through the locating of the communications antenna and the immediate area in and around the church would become a wireless hotspot, enabling anyone with a wireless laptop or similar device to connect to the internet absolutely free.
”

BT's statistics claim that 99.6% of the Welsh population now has access to broadband. However, the Welsh Consumer Council notes that only 42% of people in the South Wales Valleys, 47% in South West Wales, 48% in North, Mid and West Wales, and 60% in Cardiff and South East Wales are actually connected to broadband.
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