Verizon Building Steeples, Paying Churches to Boost Wireless Coverage
Verizon is looking to use church steeples in California to help with their wireless services, reportedly compensating congregations for the effort.
The Santa Rosa-based newspaper The Press Democrat reported Tuesday about efforts by the communications company to spread their network coverage in the area.
Verizon spokesperson Karen Schulz told The Christian Post that it is typical for "carriers to lease space in a variety of locations including rooftops, church steeples, street lights and utility poles."
"While we have been installing sites in these locations for many years, the evolution of small cells, miniature versions of traditional sites, has made it possible to install this technology in more unique locations," explained Schulz.
"For example, at U.S. Bank stadium we installed innovative design solutions in drink rails, handrails and underneath seats. Cell sites hiding in plain sight has become a more mainstream option for meeting the capacity needs of hungry data users."
One deal the Press Democrat noted was with Westview Christian Church in southwest Santa Rosa, with the company "paying the church an undisclosed sum to lease the space."
"After nearly three years in the works, the facility, which contains six powerful wireless antennas, went live earlier this year. There have been no complaints from neighbors or from parishioners, who know the church needs the modest sum the lease provides," reported the Press Democrat.
"Now Verizon is trying to replicate that success on the east side of the city, proposing a 62-foot steeple at the Community Baptist Church on Sonoma Avenue."
Verizon is not the only entity looking to use the spires of sanctuaries to help spread and strengthen network connectivity.
In the United Kingdom, a deal was struck last month between the government and the Church of England to install broadband equipment on church steeples to help connect rural communities.
"The push to install broadband equipment on church steeples has stirred a controversy among people concerned that the satellite dishes and transmitters will ruin the historical and architectural legacy of the buildings – not to mention the religious significance of the churches themselves," reported Fox News.
"But lawmakers in the UK believe doing so will both cut down on the number of communities struggling to get reliable, high speed broadband access and bring in much needed money to churches whose congregations have begun to dwindle."