Today, Orange and BT Wholesale announced plans to work together to conduct a ground-breaking live trial of next-gen 4G LTE broadband in the Cornish village of St Newlyn East. Top10.com caught up with an Orange spokesperson for the lowdown on the scheme and the technology that's taking us into a brave new world of super fast broadband.
What does this mean for the residents of St Newlyn East?
If the trial is successful, it means that LTE could provide an alternative mode of broadband delivery in St Newlyn East, and other areas of the UK, to complement fixed delivered broadband. However, due to the timing of the spectrum auctions, LTE solutions are likely to be initiated from 2013 onwards.
How does 4G compare to 3G in its infrastructure and speed?
The LTE speeds that can be delivered in rural areas is one of the key data points we expect to get from the trial. Rather than speculate on an answer today, we’d rather confirm the answer once the trial is underway and we have data that’s based on trial results.
How much is the St Newlyn East scheme costing to implement?
It’s a shared investment between both partners. The amounts involved are confidential to the parties, but are non-material to either company.
How will the trial participants be chosen?
People that live and businesses that are located within range of the core trial network nodes are invited to visit our website (www.4Gwirelessbroadbandtrial.co.uk) where they can register their interest and learn more about the trial, what it entails and what they’d have to do as a trialist.
People will need to register their interest by 30th June 2011 and we’d expect to confirm whether they’ve met the criteria by 31st July 2011. At that point, we’ll begin to make arrangements with those trialists that are successful.
If 4G has so much potential as a means of providing fast broadband in remote areas, why isn't it a central plank of the government's plans to improve broadband across the UK?
No comment on government initiatives.
Are there business trialists too? How do you expect local enterprises particular to the area to benefit?
The trial is positioned for consumers. If the trial is successful, it means that LTE could provide an alternative mode of broadband delivery in rural areas to complement fibre delivered broadband for all customers.
Why choose St Newlyn East over other far-flung areas of the UK?
St Newlyn East was selected because it provides the right geography for this trial which is designed to test the viability of an alternative technology to deliver high speed broadband to customers in rural areas. Far from being ignored, if the solution being trialled proves technically and commercially viable, and if it gets implemented on a commercial basis, all areas of the UK with a rural demographic will benefit.
Is funding derived in part from the Cornwall Development Company?
Funding is courtesy of BT and Everything Everywhere only.
What sort of price would a 4G service come in at? How would it compare with say satellite broadband that's often touted as the solution to rural broadband problems?
It’s too early to speculate on what a service based on LTE might cost. This is a technical trial and not a commercial trial and will help us to better understand the costs of providing the service with the level of experience end users could expect.