CityFibre, the UK’s largest independent Full Fibre platform, has partnered with BAI Communications (BAI), a global communications infrastructure provider, and Sunderland City Council to support the delivery of a new 5G small cell network that will provide a platform for business growth and innovation across the city.  

Sunderland City Council awarded a 20-year strategic partnership to BAI in October 2021 to design, build and operate a private 5G small cell network as part of an ambitious plan to create the UK’s most advanced smart city. CityFibre is currently engaged in a £62m project to bring gigabit-speed Full Fibre infrastructure within reach of nearly every home and business in Sunderland, and its new network will provide backhaul connectivity for the council-led venture with BAI.

The new high speed 5G network is expected to go live by Summer 2022 and will enable transformative private 5G digital services for sectors including manufacturing and logistics, education and social care. BAI is complementing the project with other networking technologies that will position Sunderland at the forefront of UK smart city innovation. CityFibre’s city-wide rollout in Sunderland is part of its £4bn nationwide Full Fibre investment programme. The rollout is bringing the UK’s fastest, most reliable digital infrastructure to up to 8 million homes and businesses across 285 cities, towns and villages.

Each city-wide network enables Internet Service Providers to offer next generation, gigabit-speed services to consumers and businesses. It also provides the dense Full Fibre infrastructure required to support the large numbers of small cell access points required in the rollout of 5G services by Mobile Network Operators. CityFibre’s networks are already underpinning multiple innovative smart city initiatives across the country.

Jason Legget, Regional Partnership Director, CityFibre, said: “We’re thrilled to be working with BAI and Sunderland City Council, who have truly embraced the potential of Full Fibre, with a robust plan in place to become a genuine UK leader in smart city technology.

“At CityFibre, we design Full Fibre networks capable of serving everything from homes and businesses to mobile sites and community spaces. Leveraging our networks to underpin its dense 5G rollout enables BAI and Sunderland City Council to unleash a host of exciting benefits for the city and its citizens.”

Andrew Conway, Director of Solutions and Innovation, BAI Communications UK, said:

“We are delighted to work with CityFibre, to help drive our Smart City Project in Sunderland. The technology will connect the 5G Small Cells network, providing high speed next generation connectivity to deliver transformative digital services for communities and businesses across the city. This partnership is the vital next step in unlocking the benefits of the new network to accelerate Sunderland’s ambitions to become one of the UK’s most advanced smart cities.”

Patrick Melia, Chief Executive, Sunderland City Council, said: “Sunderland’s new high speed 5G network represents another key milestone in our city’s digital transformation. Key partnerships, such as ours with BAI Communications and CityFibre, are elevating our position as a digital leader and catalysing confidence and growth across our smart city.

“This faster and more reliable 5G network represents huge opportunities to expand our mobile ecosystem. 5G continues to impact every industry, improving performance and efficiency across an array of sectors and services, from remote healthcare to logistics and transport, as well as digitally connecting people and places.”

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