Some of the UK's most remote parts still don't have access to broadband of any kind, but later this year, they might have the sort that makes us look on in envy. BT and Everything Everywhere are planning to start an LTE trial in Cornwall, England's most southerly county, which will last from the 1st of September through to the end of December. Connection speeds could scale as high as 40Mbps, though the typical rate is expected to be closer to 10Mbps. Volunteers are now being sought to participate in the trial, though they have to reside (or be willing to move, we presume) in the pretty tiny 4G coverage area near Newquay. BT and T-MOrange have been allowed a temporary slice of 800MHz spectrum to do their experimenting in, which will likely be up for grabs in the LTE spectrum auction that's set for next year. First we take Newquay, then we take the world.
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Everything Everywhere and BT Wholesale to deliver the UK's first live customer trial of 4G high speed broadband technology
· Trial to showcase the benefits and potential of 4G LTE¹ mobile technology for customers
· The collaboration will see mobile and fixed broadband coming together for the first time in the UK
· The field trial will be launched in Cornwall, and will be the first of its kind in the UK to involve customers
May 25th, 2011 - United Kingdom. Everything Everywhere and BT Wholesale have today announced a collaboration that will see the first live trial of next generation 4G LTE¹ high speed broadband to customers. The live proof of concept trial is the first of its kind in the UK and will see the two companies sharing their fixed telecommunications and mobile technology to provide high speed wireless broadband to customers in rural Cornwall.
An initial test at BT's laboratories at Adastral Park in Suffolk is already underway, with the field trial set to test realistic 4G broadband data speeds outside of laboratory conditions. The field trial will start this September and run to early next year, involving up to 100 mobile and 100 fixed line customers living around the St Newlyn East area of South Newquay, Cornwall. Both the laboratory and live field phases will test the application of 4G LTE as a shared fixed and mobile platform.
The field trial will utilise 2 x 10MHz of test 800MHz spectrum and will test its capability as a compelling and long term complementary solution to fixed broadband technology for customers who currently get low speeds or are unable to get broadband altogether. These customers are typically in rural areas of the country, which can be extremely difficult to reach with fixed broadband technology.
The trial will take place at test sites south of Newquay in Cornwall, providing a combined coverage area of 25 square kilometres, with approximately 700 premises which have no or limited access to broadband services today. Everything Everywhere will also look to test 4G enabled mobile handsets and broadband dongles as part of the trial.
Residents in the St Newlyn East and surrounding areas who wish to learn more or who may want to participate in the trial can register their interest at www.4Gwirelessbroadbandtrial.co.uk. The trial will be free of charge to all triallists, and is being implemented with support from technology partners Nokia Siemens Networks and Huawei. The Cornwall Development Company is also supporting the trial.
Tom Alexander, CEO, Everything Everywhere, said: "Our ambition is to have the best 4G network and be pioneers in enabling Britain's superfast wireless future.
"We strongly believe that, by sharing our network and mobile assets in this way, we can make a valuable contribution to the economics of rural broadband services. Our work with BT is providing a test bed for new technologies such as 4G LTE which, with the correct allocation of sub 1GHz spectrum from the Government, has the potential to make a real impact on the way in which we communicate in the future. The Government has previously stated its desire for the UK to have the best in class superfast broadband network in Europe by 2015, and we hope to help this vision become a reality."
Sally Davis, CEO of BT Wholesale, said: "BT is committed to bringing the highest speed broadband to everyone in the UK, whether that's over fibre, copper or airwaves. This is a great mixed economy example of innovation and collaboration by two organisations pushing the boundaries of technology for the benefit of customers. The expectation of what we will learn is truly exciting, as much for the customers who are unable to get a broadband service in a number of rural communities across the country."