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BT announces Cornish 4G mobile broadband trial

BT has announced that it is to start customer-facing trials of a 4G 'Long Term Evolution' high-speed mobile network - but only the residents of St. Newlyn East will be able to take part in the trial.

The telecoms giant has joined forces with mobile specialist Everything Everywhere to set up what it claims is the UK's first customer-facing trial of 4G mobile broadband technology, which will cover a 25 square-kilometre block of rural Cornwall.

Residents of St. Newlyn East, just south of Newquay, are being invited to take part - with the area chosen due to its remote nature, having 700 premises which have either limited broadband connectivity or none at all.

From those who apply to take part in the trial, BT will choose 100 mobile and 100 fixed-line customers who will be given the equipment they need to connect to the high-speed network - complete with a free 4G dongle for their systems. "There is no cost," a spokesman confirmed, "and no risk."

The trial is due to start in September, and run through to early next year - after which residents will have to return the equipment, or start paying a subscription fee should the trial prove successful enough for a commercial offering to be launched.

LTE, or 4G, networking is the next stage of mobile connectivity, offering significantly improved speeds compared to existing 3G networks. While the US has a 4G infrastructure in place already, the UK is lagging behind - but BT's announcement shows that we're getting there, albeit slowly.

For those interested in taking part, more information is available at the official website.