Superfast mobile broadband to connect Welsh notspots

High-speed 4G mobile broadband technology is being trialled in west Wales - the firms behind it say the technology could eventually connect 'notspots' around the UK

In the first live trial of the technology, communications firms Arqiva and Alcatel-Lucent are using Long Term Evolution (LTE) to bring broadband speeds of up to 50Mb to the Preseli Mountains in Pembrokeshire.

LTE - a fourth-generation, or 4G, mobile communications technology - uses the 800MHz radio spectrum, which will becomes available as the UK switches to digital TV. Residents will be able to get online via an aerial or a wireless router.

"The Preseli Mountains area has already switched to digital TV and combines low population density with dispersed communities, making it typical of areas that can't be reached economically with the existing fixed networks," said Arqiva and Alcatel-Lucent.

The companies estimate that some 10% of UK homes still cannot get broadband speeds over 2Mb, but with the new technology, people living in 'notspots' would be able to use a wide range of more internet-intensive services, such as the BBC iPlayer, for the first time.

Arqiva said that it plans to make the technology available to as many broadband providers as possible, encouraging competitive pricing and more choice for homes and businesses.

Lakh Jemmett, Alcatel-Lucent's north Europe president, said: "LTE technology offers the potential to accelerate the availability of broadband services to individuals and businesses that do not have access to services that many of us take for granted."

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