The UK city has announced a 20-year strategic partnership with BAI Communications to design, build and operate the digital infrastructure, which includes a private 5G small cell 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.”
BAI is a leading global provider of 4G and 5G connected infrastructure. The agreement follows the recent deal announcement with Transport for London, that saw BAI awarded the concession to deliver high-speed mobile connectivity across the capital, building on BAI’s significant experience of deploying connectivity in highly dense urban environments across the world, including New York, Toronto and Hong Kong.
“We will leverage the power of 5G and the internet of things to establish a network of connectivity which will enhance employment opportunities, business efficiency and growth, helping to secure its prosperous future”
“Our long-term strategic partnership with Sunderland City Council will completely transform the city, accelerating Sunderland’s ambitions to become one of the UK’s most advanced smart cities, connecting people, communities and businesses,” said Billy D’Arcy, CEO of BAI Communications UK.
“We will leverage the power of 5G and the internet of things to establish a network of connectivity which will enhance employment opportunities, business efficiency and growth, helping to secure its prosperous future.”
Sunderland was named UK Smart City of the Year in 2020 and Connected Britain Digital Council of the Year 2021 in this year’s Connected Britain awards.
Earlier this month, Sunderland City Council announced it would be home to the Nissan EV36Zero £1bn flagship electric vehicle (EV) hub, which aims to create an electric vehicle manufacturing ecosystem in the region.