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Sunderland details 20-year 5G partnership



Sunderland City Council is seeking a strategic partner for a joint venture that will help provide ubiquitous 5G wireless services across its area for two decades.

The council has published a 20-year tender worth an estimated £70-80 million as part of its plan to establish a 5G Neutral Host service available across Sunderland, allowing telecoms operators to buy capacity so they can offer their own services. In March, the city signed law firm Bevan Brittan to advise it on the work.

The council wants a high-speed service available in 99% of its area outdoors, as well as a low-power equivalent that works everywhere including within buildings. It will first cover the city centre and Riverside Sunderland, a development area that includes housing, offices and the council’s new city hall, which is under construction and due to open in autumn 2021. The procurement notice says the partner may have the opportunity to take over and expand a network used by Nissan at its vehicle manufacturing site in Sunderland.

As part of the contract, the partner will have to recruit mobile network operators and internet service providers. It will also continue to provide and improve the free public wi-fi the council provides in the city centre and the seaside suburb of Roker, as well as maintain connections to council road sensors. The joint-venture could continue beyond its initial term or expand to cover other areas, although the latter will only take place after Sunderland is fully covered.


Image of Wear Bridge in Sunderland: Patrick Routledge via Pixabay


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