Everything Everywhere’s live trial of 4G LTE in Cumbria has succeeded in providing broadband speeds of 20Mbps downstream to a number of local businesses.
The trial, announced back in May, aims to show how fixed-location 4G can be used as an alternative for traditional fixed line broadband, either as a replacement or as an interim solution before fibre optic networks reach an area.
Threkfeld in Cumbria is one of the UK’s broadband blackspots, situated near one of the most visited areas of the Lake District. The areas attracts a number of visitors, but local businesses aren’t able to promote their services as easily due to “ insufficient or unreliable broadband” according to Everything Everywhere.
Corin Burdon, Keswick Web Design said:
“...the benefits to my business have been immediately noticeable with a large increase in consistent and useable connection speeds, which are typically 3-4 times faster than my existing landline broadband. The quality of the connection has been particularly noticeable with file upload speed and transfers via FTP [File Transfer Protocol].
On several occasions transfers I would have left overnight on my traditional broadband connection - only to see errors and drop outs the next day - have been accomplished easily and quickly while continuing to work on websites in the background. 4G has taken the load in its stride even while multiple users are connected.”
20Mbps achieved on Everything Everywhere's 4G LTE live trial in Cumbria
Tim Foster, Head of the Field Studies Council, Blencathra Centre said that:
“The 4G trial allows us to stream data faster, improving the fieldwork for the 200 schools and universities who stay at Blencathra. We are currently involved with IT and Web developers to create an app that students could use to record river data on their own smartphones out in the field.
This will enable them to open the page on their phone web browser, enter their data and then send it to a central server where we could access everything already collated. The introduction of 4G would make this app a reality, alongside the increasing use of social media to improve our marketing opportunities via Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.”
Using dongles and routers, Everything Everywhere will be able to factors which affect data speeds such as the number of people using the network, distance to a mast, building density and local terrain.
Everything Everywhere, which owns Orange and T-Mobile, is trialling 4G LTE on the 1800MHz spectrum and hopes to launch 4G in across the UK later this year.
Competition rules however mean that this might not happen as not all of the UK networks have as much access to the 1800MHz band as Everything Everywhere does. Ofcom is currently negotiating this while simultaneously working out exactly when the 4G spectrum auction will take place.
Olaf Swantee, CEO of Everything Everywhere said: “Business will benefit hugely from fast mobile broadband connectivity and the growth, investment and jobs that it will deliver. The UK must start catching up now with the nearly 40 other countries that have deployed 4G LTE to maintain its competitiveness.”
Cumbria is one of the most poorly-served parts of the UK when it comes to broadband. Ealier this year, residents of the Duddon Valley had to be rescued by satellite broadband provider Tooway, after government money for a previous service dried up. Earlier this month, we reported that Cumbria County Council had reset negotiations with BT and Fujtisu, after plans to provide next-gen broadband fell through.