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Sunderland signs BAI for 5G infrastructure

22/10/21

Mark Say Managing Editor

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Sunderland City Council has signed a contract with BAI Communications for the provision of a 5G mobile infrastructure.

Aerial shot of Sunderland at night

They have agreed on a 20-year strategic partnership under which the company will design, build and operate next generation digital infrastructure including a private 5G small cell network.

The project will be a major element of the council’s effort to make Sunderland a leading smart city.

The first phase of the partnership will involve setting up a backbone of 5G connectivity, based on a neutral host model, within the city by summer 2022.

The partners said this will provide a platform for business growth and innovation and include the creation of over 100 jobs.

It will be complemented by other networking technologies, including the internet of things, to enable the council to deliver new digital services in areas such as remote learning in education, an increased deployment of assistive technologies in social care, and trials of self-driving vehicles. The latter will include trials of heavy goods vehicles between the Nissan car manufacturing plant and its supply chain.

Patrick Melia, chief executive of Sunderland City Council, said: “This is an incredibly significant milestone in the development and future of Sunderland Our Smart City.

“We are very much looking forward to our 20-year strategic partnership with BAI, as its team helps us realise our ambitions and make our goals a reality. We are confident the benefits of this partnership will reach every resident, organisation and business within our city and indeed the wider area.”

The partnership is supported by the North East Local Enterprise Partnership and the Government’s Getting Building Fund.

Sunderland has a smart city plan that includes the development of connected infrastructure and networking solutions, with themes of developing a low carbon economy, helping people live healthy lives and making communities safe and more vibrant.

In August it was named as one of the areas providing a testbed for digital solutions for healthy ageing and launched a trial for the development of sustainable modes of transport.

Image from BAI Communications

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