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Everything Everywhere 4G LTE Mobile Broadband Trial in Cumbria Hits 20Mb

Wednesday, Jun 27th, 2012 (7:19 am) - Score 883

Mobile group Everything Everywhere (Orange UK and T-Mobile) has issued a short update on the status of their 1800MHz based trial of superfast “4G” Long Term Evolution (LTE) Mobile Broadband technology in the isolated rural Cumbria (England) community of Threlkeld.

The trial itself, which was first announced during early May (here) and is set to run until the end of July 2012, has now finally gone live and is currently achieving internet speeds of 20Mpbs (Megabits per second) via a mix of USB Modem (Dongles) and Router devices. Sadly it’s not clear whether this speed is measured as a peak or average (we’d guess peak).

It’s estimated that the entire Threlkeld area is home to more than 400 people, although EE’s trial only aims to cover around 50 local residents and businesses (i.e. mostly those who live in areas that currently suffer from either insufficient or unreliable broadband access). A video of the Threlkeld trial can be found on YouTube.

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 now start catching up with the nearly 40 other countries that have deployed 4G LTE to maintain its competitiveness.”

Rory Stewart, MP for Penrith and the Border, added:

I am pleased to see Cumbria at the forefront of innovation and most importantly our local businesses and residents finally being able to access the internet. Let’s hope that this service starts to become commercially available in the UK as soon as possible.”

The current performance of 20Mbps might not seem like much but it’s still a huge boost for an area where sub-2Mbps speeds have been the norm for many years. Similarly the 1800MHz band is better suited to shorter-range urban areas than rural landscapes, which are more likely to benefit from the wider reach of 800MHz spectrum (due to be released by early 2014).

The first generation of LTE technology will take time to develop and, just like HSPA (3G) before it, can still be affected by a number of factors including how many people are using the network, distance to a mast, building density and geographical terrain. This is what the trial is attempting to understand, though it also acts as a useful PR tool for EE’s controversial 4GBritain campaign.

Everything Everywhere has a vested internet in persuading Ofcom to let them use the 1800MHz band for “4G” services (it’s currently allocated for use by 3G but the EU allow it to be repurposed). Ofcom had proposed to approve EE’s request but rivals began opposing this once they realised that it would have allowed EE to launch the UK’s first 4G service in Q4-2012, at least one full year ahead of everybody else (the rest must wait for the 800MHz and 2.6GHz bands to be released by the end of 2013).

By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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