180 customers in the St Newlyn area of Cornwall have been on a 4G trial which was due to come to an end soon. Ofcom has given approval for an extension of the trial to June 2012, for testing of 4G in rural areas.
Everything Everywhere is running the trial in conjunction with BT Wholesale. The trial is using a part of the sub 1GHz spectrum which is better at penetrating buildings and obstructions that the higher 4G frequencies. Average download speeds are reported as 7 Mbps, with 2 Mbps upload speeds.
"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."Tamasin Battell, 4G Cornwall triallist
The Superfast Cornwall project which is vastly more advanced with actual roll-out underway compared to BDUK, and has always had wireless (fixed and mobile) in its plan to provide superfast broadband to as much of Cornwall as possible. One unknown still, and this applies across the UK is how BT plans to meet the 25 Mbps (or 30 Mbps in some areas) minimum speed target for exchange only lines (a line that has no street cabinet between it and the exchange). The Cornwall blueprint seems to suggest these will be some other technology than FTTP.
Hopefully for triallists in Cornwall, a further extension will be granted in June, rather than service being withdrawn until the 4G auctions finally complete and service delivery commence in 2013.