5th March 2018

Sir Nicholas Soames, Member of Parliament for Mid Sussex, has welcomed news that the Government has signed an Accord with the National Church Institutions to encourage the Church of England to use its buildings and other property to improve broadband, mobile and WiFi connectivity for local communities.

65% of Anglican churches and 66% of parishes in England are in rural areas and their locations at the heart of their communities mean they are often well placed to address connectivity and coverage problems.

The use of these churches, as well as other church properties and farm buildings, to host digital infrastructure will help to deliver the Government’s commitment for everyone to get good quality mobile connectivity where they live, work and travel.

Commenting Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport, The Rt. Hon. Matt Hancock MP said; “Churches are central features and valued assets for local communities up and down the country. This agreement with the Church of England will mean that even a 15th Century building can help make Britain fit for the future improving people’s lives by boosting connectivity in some of our hardest-to-reach areas.

Commenting Sir Nicholas said; “Mid Sussex certainly has more than its share of poor digital connectivity, particularly in the villages. This is unacceptable in the increasingly digital age that we live in.

“I have long campaigned for increased connectivity and I am very much in favour of this idea, which is an innovative use of existing community infrastructure to improve how we can access our phone and internet networks.

“There is more to do but this is another encouraging step in the right direction.”