Postwick lands new high-speed broadband
Residents around Postwick, near Norwich, have been given the chance to enter the world of high-speed broadband in a pioneering church-led scheme.
At a launch event in the village hall on Saturday, families were able to sign up with Wispire, a project involving the Diocese of Norwich and Freeclix, a Norwich-based internet service provider.
Taking advantage of a signal emitted from transmitters fitted to the the tower of Postwich church, they will see their broadband speed increase from 0.5mb/s to a guaranteed 6mb for a cost of �24.99 a month.
Steve Batson, a director of Freeclix, said: 'We identified that rural areas needed to be looked after and wanted to expand our existing wireless network out of Norwich.'
Looking for high spots where they could place transmitters they had the brainwave of using Norfolk's many churches and entered discussions with the diocese, church officials seizing on the scheme as a 'win-win idea'.
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After a delay to clear up any health concerns, Postwick is now the fourth community to benefit from Wispire following Blofield Heath, Ringland Hills and Beeston near King's Lynn.
'We are hoping to roll it out to any community with a church and plan to do another 10 villages next month,' he said.
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David Broom, deputy diocesan secretary, said: 'We see this as an opportunity for the church to re-establish itself at the heart of their communities, particularly in rural areas where the village shop, post office and other amenities are long gone.
'In challenging economic times it is even more vital for rural businesses to have fast broadband.'
An added advantage was that the high-speed broadband signal would support security cameras to protect churches from lead theft. Churches housing transmitters would receive a modest income depending on the number of subscribers.
Mr Broom said he had already received interest from the Chelmsford Diocese and the scheme was likely to go national. For details on the scheme go to www.wispire.co.uk