The 4G trial run by Everything Everywhere and BT in Cornwall has been extended until next summer. The trial of next-generation Internet access is pointing the way to a potential future of wireless web connection in rural areas.
Everything Everywhere -- the network merging T-Mobile and Orange -- and BT Wholesale today have been running the trial in and around St Newlyn East in Cornwall since October last year.
The trial involves LTE, a technology that knocks current 3G speeds into a cocked hat. It's still only at the trial stages over here, but is becoming more common in the US, where high-end phones like the Nokia Lumia 900 are equipped with LTE.
BT and Everything Everywhere reckon the trial demonstrates that a combination of fixed line and wireless connections are the future. While a nationwide fibre network connecting every home, business and farmhouse would be wonderful, BT says, "There isn't a single silver bullet to meet the rural broadband challenge. We continue to also assess other potential solutions including other mobile and wireless technologies."
We've visited the site to meet some of the Cornishfolk benefiting from decent Internet speeds for the first time -- hit play on the video to see how these seaside-dwellers are doing with a different type of surfing.
Strictly speaking, LTE isn't actually 4G, according to the technical specifications, but as it's the next step on from 3G, the term 4G has been applied by phone networks. In marketing terms, 3.25G or something technically accurate doesn't sound exciting enough.
Internet users in Cornwall are reported to reach an average download speed of 7Mbps, and will continue to do so until the end of June 2012.
Are you in Cornwall? Reading this on a 4G connection? Tell us how the trial is working out for you in the comments or on our first-generation Facebook page.