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First 4G live trials begin in Cornwall with Everything Everywhere and BT

The UK 4G auction might not now be taking place until later in 2012 than expected, but that hasn’t stopped the first live trial of 4G LTE going ahead today.

Everything Everywhere and BT Wholesale have announced that the first public demo of 4G LTE services in the country has begun in St. Newlyn East and the surrounding area of South Newquay in Cornwall.

4G LTE is the next generation of mobile broadband which will see us benefitting from faster download speeds when we’re browsing the web and connecting to Facebook and Twitter on our phones.

Cornwall is an area that’s been historically plagued with signal and reception problems, attributed to the geography of the region. Everything Everywhere and BT hope that the “live network trial in Cornwall will be key to understanding how this LTE technology will perform in real life conditions… data speeds can vary due to a number of factors including the number of people using the network, physical factors such as distance to a mast, building density and geographical terrain.”

Possible alternative to fixed-line broadband

As well as being great for mobile users in Cornwall, the trial is being used to determine the viability of using 4G LTE connections as a viable replacement for fixed-line broadband. Seeing as many places in Cornwall have limited road access, digging up roads in order to install fibre-optic lines.

In a statement, Nigel Stagg, CEO, BT Wholesale said: “BT is committed to working with the government and using technology innovation to find ways of addressing the remaining challenges within the UK were there are still broadband ‘not-spots’. The final ten per cent of the country won’t be covered by government funds and is exceedingly difficult to reach with the available standard fixed line solutions.

Our proof of concept trial in Cornwall will test the capabilities and services that a shared fixed and mobile data network can support and is just one of the technologies, along with fibre, that we are looking at to offer a possible solution to the rural broadband challenge.”

More than 400 local residents are taking part in the trial, reporting their experiences in an online forum. The government is aiming to roll out broadband speeds of at least 2Mbps to every UK home by 2012, with a view to using solutions other than fixed-line connections where it’s not possible to set them up.

Image credit: Flickr user Smabs Sputzer


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