Churches within the Diocese of Hereford will supply wireless internet connectivity to surrounding rural communities following the successful introduction of the new Broadband Licence for Churches.
The service — up to 4Mbps home broadband for more than 150 customers per church — will be run by Allpay.net. The company already delivers broadband to homes in Herefordshire wirelessly.
"When you think about it, what we are seeing here is two local organisations coming together to find a local solution to a local problem that affects thousands of rural residents and businesses. Perhaps more importantly, this is a private enterprise that is not reliant in any way on state funding," Nick Peplow, marketing director at Allpay, said in a statement.
The deal will see a wireless transmission tower placed within Kingstone church in Hereford, the first recipient of a new Broadband Licence for Churches. The church will be paid £500 a year.
The Broadband Licence for Churches provides standard terms and conditions that allow every church in the Diocese of Hereford to apply for equipment to be installed, thereby streamlining the process in the future, a company spokeswoman explained.
Allpay says that in the next six months the service will be enabled for residents in Peterchurch, Madley, Preston-on-Wye, Staunton-on-Wye, Credenhill, Burghill, Callow and Wellington. The company says it also has plans to extend to other areas including Shobdon, Leominster, Clee Hill and Bromyard within one year.
Customers will be able to sign up for an up to 2Mbps or 4Mbps package which will cost £20 and £35 per month respectively on a 12-month contract. There is also a £100 installation fee and a fair usage policy will be in place on the connections.
Allpay says that it also has the potential to deliver up to 35Mbps connections for high-demand users or local businesses. The company said it is also welcoming enquiries from other parishes that want to install its equipment.
"We will go where there is the demand, so please register your interest with us," Peplow said.