Composer and theatre don Andrew Lloyd Webber wants every church in England to be kitted out with wireless broadband.
Praising the efforts of Norfolk-based WiSpire project – which uses church spires as ad hoc masts for wireless broadband – Lord Lloyd ‘World Wide’ Webber called for other dioceses to follow the example set by that of Norwich.
While visiting an Aylsham church to film an episode of Songs of Praise, Webber said: “I co-founded the Open Churches Trust 25 years ago to help keep churches open. The best way to keep a church open is to have it used. This is so thrilling; Aylsham is a hub attracting people to the church in different ways. It is vitally important to roll out WiFi into churches across the country and it’s a win-win situation, also solving rural broadband problems.”
WiSpire is owned and run by the Church of England’s diocese of Norwich and local ISP FreeClix. The high density of old churches makes wireless broadband ideally suited to the realtively flat Norfolk terrain.
Communities used to getting piffling, dial-up quality download speeds can now regularly get 4Mbps up to 8Mbps for those in line of sight of the spire-bound transmitters.
The project has spread steadily throughout Norwich and now includes 26 access points, from Erpingham down to Oulton Broad and out to Happisburgh on the coast.
If you’re interested in getting your broadband beamed from the heavens, you can visit WiSpire’s site for more information.