Broadband providers Everything Everywhere and BT Wholesale have joined forces to operate the first pilot of 4G long-term-evolution (LTE) broadband in the UK.
The proof-of-concept trial will see the telecoms giants use their respective fixed and mobile technology to provide high-speed wireless broadband to customers in rural Cornwall.
Initial testing is already underway at BT's laboratories at Adastral Park in Suffolk, but the new trial will see 4G LTE services tested in an open environment.
Commencing in September 2011, the initiative will run until early next year and involve up to 100 mobile and 100 fixed line customers living in south Newquay.
BT and Everything Everywhere – which owns Orange and T-Mobile in the UK – will test the capability of 800MHz spectrum as a means of delivering high-speed broadband to premises in remote areas.
The latter will also investigate the potential of 4G-enabled mobile handsets and broadband dongles as part of the trial.
Tom Alexander, Chief Executive at Everything Everywhere, said the firm is aiming to create the UK's best 4G network and be "pioneers in enabling Britain's super-fast wireless future".
"We strongly believe that, by sharing our network and mobile assets in this way, we can make a valuable contribution to the economics of rural broadband services," he stated.
"Our work with BT is providing a test bed for new technologies such as 4G LTE which, with the correct allocation of sub 1GHz spectrum from the government, has the potential to make a real impact on the way in which we communicate in the future."
Sally Davis, Chief Executive of BT Wholesale, noted that BT is committed to bringing the highest speed broadband to everyone in the UK, whether that is over fibre, copper or airwaves.
"This is a great mixed economy example of innovation and collaboration by two organisations pushing the boundaries of technology for the benefit of customers," she noted.
Media regulator Ofcom recently announced plans to auction off radio spectrum to mobile service providers, raising hopes that 4G LTE broadband will soon become a reality in the UK.
The technology is already being used in North America and parts of mainland Europe to improve high-speed broadband access for people living in remote areas.