Sunderland progresses smart city ambitions with next-gen network

Sunderland progresses smart city ambitions with next-gen network


The UK city of Sunderland has entered a 20-year strategic partnership with BAI Communications to design, build and operate next generation digital infrastructure, including a private 5G small cell network.

 

The 5G network will support Sunderland City Council’s ambition to be a UK smart city leader and accelerate digital transformation in areas such as education, social care, manufacturing and logistics.

 

Neutral host model

 

The first phase of the partnership, supported by the North East Local Enterprise Partnership and the Government’s Getting Building Fund, will see a backbone of 5G connectivity, based on a neutral host model, established within the city by summer 2022.

 

The new high-speed 5G coverage will provide a platform for business growth and innovation, supporting the Government’s levelling up agenda by aiming to bring substantial social and economic benefits to its residents, businesses and visitors, including the creation of more than 100 jobs.

“We are confident the benefits of this partnership will reach every resident, organisation and business within our city and indeed the wider area”

Greater high speed 5G mobile connectivity will be complemented by other networking technologies to enable Sunderland to deliver transformative digital services for communities and sectors across the city at much greater scale, including:

  • education: better connectivity will support online and remote learning across Sunderland’s schools, following on from the success at Hudson Road Primary School, ensuring young people have the digital skills they need to enter the future workforce
  • social care: the greater reach and capacity of the new connectivity will enable existing deployment of assistive technologies for vulnerable people to scale significantly. These technologies utilise sensors in the homes of vulnerable people to support independent living
  • manufacturing and logistics: the project seeks to unlock further Industry 4.0 benefits, such as increasing supply chain agility through further development of self-driving vehicle trials, which includes the use of autonomous heavy goods vehicles for transfer of goods between the Nissan supply chain and the Sunderland Nissan car manufacturing plant.

“This is an incredibly significant milestone in the development and future of Sunderland our Smart City,” said Patrick Melia, chief executive, Sunderland City Council. “We are confident the benefits of this partnership will reach every resident, organisation and business within our city and indeed the wider area.”



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