Birmingham City Council is running one of the first city trials of 4G mobile technology in the UK. The council is conducting the trial with Birmingham Science Park Aston (BSPA) and wireless company UKBroadband. The aim of the trial is to get an accurate measure of what it will be like when 4G wireless broadband technology is available across the city for consumers, public sector workers and businesses.

4G broadband promises to be faster, more secure and reliable when compared to current 3G mobile networks, but is not expected to be widely available in the UK until at least 2012.

Raj Mack at Digital Birmingham, which is spearheading the area's Digital Districts programme, said, “We are looking to a mix of technologies to support Birmingham’s aspirations of establishing an ultra-fast digital infrastructure, and this trial may help us establish the role that wireless technologies could play in delivering these aspirations.”

Mack said the 4G trial will provide end-user feedback and information about the capabilities of the wireless technologies, including next generation CCTV systems.

The first phase of the trial is restricted geographically to Birmingham Science Park but will present the council with the ability to "experience a cohesive wireless infrastructure", he said.

Today (20 October) and tomorrow, Birmingham is hosting Beyond 2010, a conference that will profile the digital credentials of the city. The conference is designed to open up the debate on the impact of digital technologies across the public sector, government, health and education. 

Beyond 2010 takes place at Birmingham’s International Convention Centre as part of the region's Hello Digital Week, which celebrates the area's technological achievements.

UKBroadband is the UK’s largest commercial holder of national radio spectrum for 4G mobile and fast wireless backhaul services. 

In other 4G mobile news, Broadcom recently announced the acquisition of Beceem Communications, a maker of chips for 4G LTE (long term evolution) and WiMax devices, for $316 million in cash. Broadcom, a maker of chips for WiFi, GPS (global positioning system) and 3G systems, said that acquiring Beceem's engineering team and technology will help it get 4G chips to market sooner.