50Mbps wireless internet trialled in rural Wales

Mobile data trials to extend coverage to rural areas
Mobile data trials to extend coverage to rural areas

The possible next generation of mobile data signal is being tested in the UK by Arqiva and Alcatel Lucent.

Long Term Evolution (LTE) masts have been put up in the Preseli Mountains in Wales, and will test whether it will be economically viable to get high-speed broadband wirelessly to homes with no fast internet connection.

The trial will use the 800MHz spectrum left open by the digital TV switchover, which will go up for auction to network providers next year.

Theoretical speeds

The LTE mast is capable of supporting speeds of up to 50Mbps, but that's only the theoretical maximum and will likely be a lot lower in real-time use.

However, the 800MHz band can also travel further distances (and more easily penetrate walls and other immobile objects), allowing more users to receive the signal, which is pivotal in rural areas.

O2 is also trialling a similar service, but only in the town of Slough, where Arqiva's efforts are directed at making superfast broadband a reality for country-dwelling folk.

Steve Holebrook, MD of Arqiva's Government, Mobile & Enterprise business said: "Arqiva's heritage in rolling-out projects of critical national infrastructure is matched by our long-standing commitment to providing solutions that are universal in their delivery.

"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."

Gareth Beavis
Formerly Global Editor in Chief

Gareth has been part of the consumer technology world in a career spanning three decades. He started life as a staff writer on the fledgling TechRadar, and has grown with the site (primarily as phones, tablets and wearables editor) until becoming Global Editor in Chief in 2018. Gareth has written over 4,000 articles for TechRadar, has contributed expert insight to a number of other publications, chaired panels on zeitgeist technologies, presented at the Gadget Show Live as well as representing the brand on TV and radio for multiple channels including Sky, BBC, ITV and Al-Jazeera. Passionate about fitness, he can bore anyone rigid about stress management, sleep tracking, heart rate variance as well as bemoaning something about the latest iPhone, Galaxy or OLED TV.