Everything Everywhere and BT Wholesale today announced an extension to the UK’s first live multi-operator customer trial of next generation 4G LTE broadband.
The trial has seen the two companies collaborate to provide wireless broadband to 180 customers living in and around St. Newlyn East in Cornwall since October 2011. The extension until the end of June 2012 has been granted by Ofcom to enable the companies to continue to investigate the application of 4G LTE in rural areas. This will be beneficial to the rollout of any potential subsequent commercial service.
The trial is successfully demonstrating that fixed and mobile technologies can work together to provide a broadband delivery option for remote rural areas. It has also proven that the low frequency spectrum (such as 800MHz) allocated to this trial is optimal for enabling broadband in remote rural communities.
The LTE trialists previously had no broadband or struggled to get speeds of 2 Mbps. Thanks to the trial, participants are now reaching an average download speed of 7 Mbps, enabling them to access a range of content including On Demand television, HD video and VoIP services.
Olaf Swantee, CEO, Everything Everywhere, said: “The rollout of 4G will help drive economic growth and create jobs across the UK by making the economy more competitive, by enabling businesses to be more productive, and by allowing consumers to benefit from the latest mobile innovations. This trial has been key in investigating ways to rapidly bring 4G LTE to Britain, and Ofcom is helping us do the groundwork to accelerate the UK from laggard to leader.”
Nigel Stagg, CEO, BT Wholesale said: “This trial is enabling us to see at first hand the real difference LTE is making in rural Cornwall and how it could provide an alternative mode of delivery in rural areas to complement fibre delivered broadband. There’s no doubt that fixed line solutions offer a faster and more reliable broadband service, but there isn’t a single silver bullet to meet the rural broadband challenge. We continue to also assess other potential solutions including other mobile and wireless technologies.”
Tamasin Battell, triallist said: “Before the 4G trial, my fiancé and I were using a dongle, and downloading anything was impossible it was so slow. Now, we can watch on demand television and stream music. Better still, my fiancé’s sister in Australia has met her four month old nephew for the first time over Skype. The extension of the trial is a godsend for me, as I really don’t want to go back to the digital dark age.”
Mark Jose, triallist said: “My family found anything beyond casual browsing or sending email a struggle with our previous 512k broadband speed – loading photos for example could take all night. With the download speeds this trial is delivering, we’re all able to access the internet at the same time and enjoy social networking sites like YouTube, streaming movies and participating in fast online gaming.”