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Everything Everywhere And BT Extend 4G LTE Cornwall Trial

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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Partners and participants say that trial has successfully shown benefits of LTE in rural areas

Everything Everywhere and BT will be able to continue their 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) trial in Cornwall after Ofcom agreed to extend their license until June 2012.

The partners claim that the trial successfully highlights the potential of LTE technology to eliminate broadband ‘not-spots’ in the UK.

Working Together

The project was first announced in May last year, and since it began in October 2011, it has provided wireless broadband to 180 customers living around St. Newlyn East.

The extension allows the companies to continue to investigate the application of LTE in rural areas and claim that it would be beneficial to the rollout of any subsequent commercial service.

According to Everything Everywhere, the UK’s largest mobile network by subscribers, participants previously had no broadband or struggled to get speeds of Mbps. Now , it says, trialists receive an average speed of 7 Mbps, enabling them to sample content such as video on demand and VoIP services.

“Before the 4G trial, my fiancé and I were using a dongle, and downloading anything was impossible it was so slow,” said one participant. “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.”

Rural Commitment

The network claims that the trial has successfully demonstrated how fixed and mobile technology can work together to provide  a broadband delivery option for remote rural areas, and that it has shown how the low frequency spectrum, such as 800MHz, is optimal for enabling broadband in remote rural communities.

“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,” commented Olaf Swantee, CEO of Everything Everywhere.

“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,” he added.

In its latest proposals for the perpetually-delayed 4G auction, Ofcom suggested that coverage be extended to 98 percent of the population in an effort to eliminate broadband not-spots.

BT has said that it wants to provide superfast broadband to 90 percent of homes in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, and has connected more than 1,000 Cornish homes and businesses to its superfast broadband services.