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Superfast broadband connectivity could be brought to more rural areas thanks to the Church of England (CoE).

The government is currently working to implement a new broadband Universal Service Obligation that ensures everyone in Britain is able to access minimum speeds of 10Mbps by 2020.

Ministers have recently been criticised for watering down their pledge after confirming that broadband will not be an automatic right in hard-to-reach locations, due to the expense, which means premises in rural areas will have to request connections.

However, the Guardian has since learned that the CoE is drawing up guidelines to enable 10,000 churches in rural areas to be used to provide wireless internet access.

Under the plans, medieval church spires would be used as communications towers to help complete the superfast broadband rollout in some of the UK's most remote locations.

Sir Tony Baldry, chair of the Church Buildings Council, has already met with government officials to discuss the idea.

Rory Stewart, the Rural Affairs Minister, is confident this could be a viable option, stating: "Church spires are ideally located in remote rural areas to allow point-to-point broadband coverage. 

"The offer from the church commissioners is greatly appreciated, and we are working closely with our colleagues in the Department for Culture, Media and Sport to take advantage of the technological opportunities."

The CoE already owns a company called WiSpire, which operates a broadband service from 47 churches across Norfolk that offers wireless internet coverage within a 2.5 mile radius.

WiSpire Chief Executive Steve Maine stressed that since many churches are listed buildings, it has gone to "a great deal of trouble to design it in a way that does not have a great visual impact and does not damage the fabric of the building or penetrate lead roofs".

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