WORSHIPPERS at an historic church could help fellow villagers achieve an internet connection fit for the 21st Century.

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A discreet trial aerial has been installed at St Mary of the Assumption in Ufford, near Woodbridge. If a permanent hidden antenna is approved it would be a huge boost to slow internet speeds.

The Rev Michael Hatchett, rector of Melton and Ufford, said: “We have been engaging with community group Ufford Broadband about helping to provide broadband coverage in the village, which to date is poorly served.

“The Parochial Church Council has had a presentation and asked that a temporary aerial be provided so people could assess its impact.

“The aerial is 30mm in diameter and 300mm long, about the size of a 12 inch ruler. It would be installed inside the louvers of the bell chamber and not visible from outside the church at all. The aerial will be temporarily attached to the church during the trial.”

Jan Purcell, one of Ufford’s churchwardens, continued: “This will mean a lot faster broadband for the community, the broadband speed is pretty hopeless at the moment.

“All through history the church has been a place for communicating news and events and we see this continuing that tradition.

“Quite a few small businesses in the village need faster speed.

“In this day and age even youngsters at primary schools use the internet for research and families find the internet speed is so frustrating. The church is a nice tall building where we can boost the system.

“There was talk of a dish at the top of the tower and there was some disquiet about disfiguring the building. People do not want to spoil the look, but with this antenna they will not even notice it.”

If the trial becomes permanent the work would need to be approved by the St Edmundsbury and Ipswich Diocese and representatives plan to visit while the temporary aerial is in place to view the impact.

The work is being under taken with the help of Essex based County Broadband.

The company’s Lloyd Felton said: “The temporary antenna is a full working trial.

“There was a lot of understandable concern initially, but the feedback has been fantastic.”

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