UK 4G: BT to trial wireless LTE tech later this year

Trials to begin in Cornwall this September

Pioneering trial set to bring high-speed internet to the masses

Despite the technology having been available to consumers in the US for a couple of years, 4G still hasn’t found its way to the UK in any tangible sense yet. BT and Everything Everywhere seem keen to change that, though, as the two companies have just announced a joint trial of wireless 4G in the UK.

The three-month trial will take place in Cornwall, an area with a large amount of so-called broadband ‘not-spots’, from September 2011. 200 homes will be asked to take part, with the aim being to see if it’s feasible to send LTE (Long Term Evolution) 4G broadband to the entire UK.

LTE 4G and more explained:
- The future of mobile phones in the UK

To send the necessary data, BT will be using some of the radio space freed up in Cornwall by OfCom, who switched off its analogue TV transmitters there in 2009. If it goes well, BT will snap up all the remaining air space that’ll be made available after the UK completes its digital switchover. OfCom is expected to auction this off in 2012.

The benefit of this would be that rural areas not capable of receiving broadband through old copper wiring could receive web access at speeds of up to 40mbps over the air. It’s a “valuable contribution to the economics of rural broadband service” from BT, that’s being backed by the coalition government as it coincides with the Digital Britain plan to have all of the UK online with at least 2mbps speeds.

If successful, LTE 4G in the UK would benefit mobile phone users the most, as it would dramatically increase web browsing speeds. Excited about LTE? Live in Cornwall and signing up for the trial? Let us know on the T3 Twitter feed.