Internet connectivity in churches is something most people don't even think about. However, with the recent take-up of live streaming, contactless donation methods, and the potential to hire out church spaces, it's become more important to make sure reliable internet is readily available.
We have technology solutions that mean we can get internet connectivity into your church, wherever it is!
Fixed line Internet - This is a physical connection from the local telephone exchange into your building, using either copper (ADSL), fibre (FttP) or a mixture of both (FttC). Often the favoured approach when it comes to connecting a building to the internet, but comes with some challenges when connecting with churches.
In the modern age of live streaming an ADSL connection is unlikely to be suitable, so we'd always suggest FttC or FttP. If you're just interested in providing connectivity for control of your heating system, card payment machine and basic internet access, ADSL might be all you need. We can help you work out your requirements.
For many churches, even urban ones, getting a fixed line internet connection can be a lengthy process. Often the church address is not listed on the Openreach database. The Diocesan Advisory Committee require a lot of information, including surveys, to plan where external cables are fixed to stonework. And finally, there's the possibility of digging up the church or graveyard to consider. Sometimes the installation charges can make this an expensive proposition.
That said, we are working very closely with BT and Openreach to try to improve access to fixed line internet for churches, and trying to overcome issues with address listings and survey costs.
We can use our wholesale checker to see what services are in the local area, and determine whether fixed line internet is a viable proposition.
Crossing graveyards with cables can be problematic
4G Mobile Internet - Our most popular type of internet connectivity for churches by a long way, and with good reason. 4G mobile internet gives great internet access with the minimum of disruption and can be quickly and cleanly installed.
Getting a 4G signal inside a typical church building can be difficult. Thick stone walls and leaded glass windows are barriers to radiowaves, resulting in unreliable connectivity. We overcome this by installing a 4G antenna outside, and WiFi access points inside. Church towers provide us with excellent elevation, avoiding obstructions and gaining a much stronger signal.
The equipment we use is unobtrusive and very reliable, and our installations are conducted with care and sympathy to the building.
With all of this in mind, it's a great solution for churches because of it's ease of implementation. We use mapping software to determine where the nearest useable mast is, and point our external antenna straight at it. We supply an unlimited data SIM card and we can usually have a system up and running in a day.
It works for urban churches too. Where address or access issues are a problem, a 4G solution can quickly and easily give your church fast and reliable connectivity.
What about 5G? In almost all cases 4G is more than adequate. 5G is not widely available in lots of towns, and is non-existant in rural areas. The equipment is significantly more expensive to purchase and the additional bandwidth it gives is unlikely to be used in a church environment. Of course, this is likely to change in the future, and when it does we will be ready. Our installations are "5G ready" so when the time comes, it's simply a case of swapping the existing 4G router for a 5G one, no more cabling and no changes to the existing infrastructure.
4G mapping tools help us determine the best mobile mast to use
Point-to-Point WiFi - If there's another building close by with a good internet connection, such as the church hall, rectory, or church offices, there is technology available to effectively "beam" that internet connection to the church using WiFi. The technology is common and in use in a lot of commercial scenarios, and is relatively inexpensive.
A point-to-point WiFi connection not only avoids any issues with digging, it also means you don't need to have a dedicated internet connection to the church building if you've already got one elsewhere.
Distance doesn't need to be an issue either, we have technology that can transmit a WiFi signal over many kilometres.
This solution can also work the other way. We have installed systems where 4G internet access is being provided by an antenna on the church tower, giving WiFi inside the church, and also beamed across the churchyard to the church hall, to provide connectivity for the hall and office functions.
A point-to-point link between the church hall and the tower is possible in scenarios like this
Satellite Broadband - This is an exciting time for internet connectivity. Companies like Space-X and OneWeb are launching thousands of low earth orbit (LEO) satellites that can deliver fast, reliable and inexpensive internet connectivity, anywhere! Even the most remote areas can benefit.
OneWeb in particular claim their services will have costs comparable with a 4G data solution.
These systems are still in their infancy, but are developing at an incredible rate. Commercial availability is happening right now and we will be among the first to bring this technology to the church environment. It works in a similar way to the 4G solution, except it has a satellite signal receiver instead of a 4G antenna.
Satellite Broadband, could it be the future?
4G Antenna at a rural church in Buckinghamshire