LDSTech announced the Church’s plans to install high-speed connected WiFi networks in Church buildings throughout the world. 85% of buildings will receive this upgrade by the end of 2011.
Prior to now, it was at the discretion of Stake and Ward leaders and they would have to pay for it out of their own budget, if they chose to use it. The exception to the budgetary concern was in buildings that also housed a Family History Center. In those buildings, Stakes & Wards are allowed to connect into the Family History Center’s existing high-speed internet and setup a WiFi, or other, access point and make it available on as broad or limited basis as they chose.
My calling before we moved to our current home as Assistant Stake Clerk. The Stake Presidency there was fairly young and wanted to use solutions like Google Calendar for scheduling, that required internet access. I volunteered to work with a member who was a networking specialist and had worked on installing internet in the Stake offices previously, but had never completed the process for several reasons. Our building was added-onto several times to make room for the Family History Center, and the Stake Offices. Unfortunately each had been added to opposite ends of the building. So we spent the better part of 4 hours over 2 different days, stringing CAT5 cable through a dark maze of HVAC maintenance areas; rafter, beam and insulation inhabited sections of the roof’s interior; and even though holes we drilled in shingle-laden roof that had been the exterior of the original building.
We eventually we got it connected into a wireless network hub in the Stake Offices. It was extremely helpful and convenient to be able to access our shared Google Calendars, Docs, and other online tools including the official Stake website and online calendar. So when I read the title of this article I thought about how awesome it would be if the brother who taught our emergency prep class a few weeks ago, hadn’t had to go through a bunch of trouble to tether his mobile phone to his laptop to stream a video for part of the class.
It seems the Church has also solved the issue that caused my previous Stake Presidency to decide against allowing anyone outside the Presidency to have access: what do we do if people are accessing inappropriate things in a Church building, on a Church-funded connection? These wireless connections will allow each member to logon individually using their LDS Account. This means that each person will be individually held responsible for the things they access while logged in to any Church building’s internet. This feature will be rolled-out in 2012. The article is unclear how the internet will be accessed until that time (if at all).
The Church has long used technology to broadcast the gospel to the world. From the first Mormon Tabernacle Choir radio broadcasts to satellite communications, Meetinghouse Internet is another step forward in using technology to enrich and bless the lives of members across the globe.
In what ways will you use internet in your building to enhance your church experience and magnify your calling?