The first borough-wide 4G LTE (Long Term Evolution) broadband network in the UK went live today in Swindon.
The broadband service is to be followed later this month by a microwave network, which has been created in partnership with Swindon Borough Council’s IT service provider Capita.
The system provides the capability for ultrafast broadband connections to schools, businesses and the Council. Both of the new wireless networks are investments in Swindon made by UK Broadband (UKB) entirely at their cost.
The 4G LTE service in Swindon will be launched in two phases. Phase one will offer a range of wireless broadband services to residents and businesses as a flexible alternative to fixed line broadband services.
It is estimated that the network will allow over 67,000 households and 2,600 businesses in Swindon to access superfast broadband via a 4G box that can be plugged into any power socket, therefore reducing the need for a home telephone line. As well as offering superfast broadband speeds, consumers and businesses can also pay on a monthly basis and can be connected within a few days.
Phase two of the launch will offer mobile services and a date for this launch will be announced later.
The ultrafast microwave network will initially connect a significant number of Council service sites at a substantial cost saving to the Council. It will then be extended to support other Council services and local businesses. The two new networks provide the first complete Next Generation Access (NGA) wireless city/town solution in the UK for both the public and private sector.
Cllr Garry Perkins, Swindon Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Culture, said: “I am really excited that residents, businesses and the public sector in Swindon are now in a position to start enjoying the benefits of both superfast 4G wireless broadband and ultrafast broadband connections.
“Swindon has always been a great place to do business and we believe this new network will give our economy a major boost. Existing firms will have the chance to operate more flexibly, while we hope the 4G LTE technology will also attract new companies into Swindon.
“The council will also be the first local authority to benefit from this new service using LTE technology alongside microwave services and we will use this opportunity to transform the way we work, while at the same time making substantial savings.”
Nicholas James, UK Broadband CEO, said: “In order to remain competitive it has become essential that local authorities look to reduce current costs and address the superfast broadband requirements of their area.
“By working with such a forward-thinking authority like Swindon Borough Council, we have been able to build two state of the art wireless networks that can now enable the Council, local businesses and residents to benefit from NGA broadband services.”
UK Broadband is the UK's largest national holder of radio spectrum suitable for 4G.