North of Tyne Combined Authority (NTCA) has announced plans for a pilot project to boost 4G and 5G connectivity in the North East through the Future Connectivity Partnership.
The partnership, led by NTCA, has received almost £500,000 from the Government’s £4 million Digital Connectivity Infrastructure Accelerator (DCIA) fund as one of eight trial areas.
It also involves North Tyneside Borough Council, Newcastle City Council, South Tyneside Council and Sunderland City Council, along with the Connected Places Catapult, connectivity consultancy Farrpoint and platform provider Sitenna.
NCTA said the project will enable local authorities to share information with mobile telecoms operators so they can easily see what infrastructure is available, such as streetlights, tall buildings and pockets of unused land, that might help them broaden their coverage and reach.
It will also involve efforts to build local skills in the sector.
These are aimed at accelerating the roll out of 4G and 5G networks.
Dr Henry Kippin, managing director of NCTA, said: “This government investment is important recognition of our drive to improve digital connectivity for businesses, residents and communities in the North of Tyne Combined Authority.
“Working with our partners in Sunderland and South Tyneside and across the North East, we are building the collaboration that will keep the region at the forefront of 5G and digital innovation.”
Liz St Louis, assistant director for smart cities at Sunderland City Council, said: “Our regional smart city framework is growing – the DCIA pilot will enable us, as digital leaders across the combined authority area, to accelerate our progress in rolling out critical digital infrastructure to support the transformation of our cities and towns.”