Sunderland sets goal to be UK’s leading smart city

Sunderland City Council has teamed up with BAI Communications in a bid to achieve its ambitious goal to become “the UK’s most advanced smart city”.

BAI, which earlier this month announced a £1bn communications partnership with Transport for London, has said it will build a new private 5G small cell network to “accelerate adoption of transformative digital services for sectors including manufacturing and logistics, education and social care” as part of a 20-year strategic partnership with the council.

According to the duo, the first phase of the partnership will see a “backbone of 5G connectivity” based on a neutral host model established within the city by summer 2022.

That phase will form the next step on Sunderland City Council’s journey to achieve its smart city ambition, having been awarded the title of UK Smart City of the Year 2020.

Alongside an increase in 5G speeds across the city the partnership, which is supported by the North East Local Enterprise Partnership and HM Government’s Getting Building Fund, has pledged to deliver digital upgrades within the manufacturing and social care sectors. This will include the use of autonomous heavy goods vehicles for transfer of goods between the international Nissan supply chain and the Nissan car manufacturing plant in Sunderland as well as installing sensors in the homes of vulnerable people to support independent living.

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