Alcatel Lucent runs first rural UK LTE pilot


French vendor Alcatel Lucent running LTE trial in rural Wales in 800MHz band already vacated by digital switchover

The UK’s first rural Long Term Evolution (LTE) trial has kicked off in the Preseli Mountains in West Wales to evaluate whether ‘4G’ LTE is economically and technically viable for rural areas with no broadband coverage, or with broadband speeds lower than 2Mbps.

The three-month pilot is being carried out by telecoms equipment vendor Alcatel Lucent and communications technology provider and media services company Arqiva.

The trial uses the 800MHz spectrum band, already freed up by the switchover from analogue to digital television. It is to provide internet download speeds of 50Mbps, according to the companies involved.

They said, on the first day of testing yesterday, download speeds of 50Mbps were being received up to nine kilometres away from base stations. They said speeds of 2Mbps, enough to stream videos, could travel up to 20 kilometres.

Arqiva managing director Steve Holebrook said: “We firmly believe that the combination of LTE technology, the 800MHz spectrum and a neutral-host commercial model is the best way of providing rural communities with broadband quickly, efficiently, and cost-effectively.”