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4G LTE Trial Coming This September

David Gilbert


Logo - 4G

We have been looking on enviously as public 4G networks were rolled out in the US, Sweden, Japan and Germany while we have only just started trialling the technology here in the UK.

A collaboration between BT and Everything Everywhere (the partnership between Orange and T-Mobile) will see a trial of 4G LTE technology begin in September and run until early next year. The trial will take place in South Newquay, Cornwall and will be used to see if LTE technology could be a better way of offering broadband to expensive-to-reach rural areas. The trial will use part of the 800Mhz spectrum, a part of the spectrum traditional;y used by analogue television signals, which are now being switched off. Last March, Ofcom began a consultation process regarding the selling off of the 4G spectrum, which will be the largest ever seen in the UK and will be comparable to three quarters of the current mobile spectrum. However unlike the 3G auction a decade ago which brought in £22.5 billion for the Treasury, the 4G auction is expected to raise around £5 billion.

HTC Thunderbolt

LTE or Long Term Evolution is a 4G system which promises wireless download speeds of up to 100Mbps while on the move and even higher speeds when stationary. The idea of using 4G in rural areas to provide broadband would remove the need to lay physical cable to reach those areas and therefore save a lot of money. BT will be able to use the Everything Everywhere mast to distribute the broadband wirelessly. The trial will involve up to 100 mobile and 100 fixed line customers living around the St Newlyn East area of South Newquay. Everything Everywhere will also look to test 4G-enabled mobile handsets and broadband dongles as part of the trial. Those wishing to sign up to the trial can get more details on this website. 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.”

O2 are currently trialing their own LTE system in Slough and at the end of March the company said in a blog post that the network of six 4G masts was “capable of handling the same volume of traffic as O2's entire UK 3G network.” It is not expected that the UK will have a functioning public 4G network until at least 2014, making the government’s promise of the UK having the “best-in-class superfast broadband network in Europe by 2015” a tough ask – but we live in hope.

Source: 4G Broadband Trial


May 25, 2011, 5:06 pm

Sceptical about this as a fixed-line broadband alternative for rural areas.

Is 100Mbps or so shared between all the houses in a village going to deliver a genuine 'superfast broadband' solution, e.g. routine viewing of on-demand HD across multiple households, which is clearly the future anticipated by Project Canvas/YouView?

(Even assuming a practical LTE deployment operates at anywhere near its theoretical speed, which is certainly not my experience of 3G or long Wi-Fi runs.)

Anyway, you'll generally still have to lay physical cable to provide the backhaul - it's just recabling the premises that you avoid.

And as even that need not be done with fibre-to-the-cabinet, which entails only replacing the cabinets and their cabling (hopefully running through conduits, so the roads don't have to come up!), surely this is the right way to deliver rural broadband for most locations?

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