Fantastic news for the residents of Sunderland as the city leads the way as the first city in the UK to deploy ultrafast 5G speeds over WiFi, thus bolstering the city’s reputation as a digital leader.

The initial deployment of 5G speeds over WiFi is within the area of Keel Square and High Street West, however Sunderland City Council is already working on an ambitious array of plans, and collaborative projects to boost the city’s digital infrastructure for the benefit of citizens and businesses alike and will continue to expand the network across the whole of the city.

The city’s recent appointment as members of the Digital Leaders Cities Programme further cements Sunderland’s drive for digital transformation.

This high-level pilot will continue to be rolled out across early 2020 with ultrafast 5G ready WiFi zones in Keel Square and High Street West serving as the foundation to power the next generation of wireless network infrastructure across the city. The 5G and ultrafast internet connectivity of 1Gigabit per second will enable far more devices to access the mobile internet at the same time with much faster download and upload speeds.

As a digitally connected city, this 5G infrastructure rollout also includes 5G connectivity at Hudson Road Primary School in Hendon. The school, which traditionally experienced download speeds of around 10mega bits per second, will now enjoy 1Gigabit per second. Greater internet speeds and much more capacity will enable the school to transform teaching and learning for the children.

Two Gentoo tower blocks in the city will also enjoy the benefits of this new digital infrastructure. The benefits to local people also include improved access to universal credits online, as well as access to digital skills training and equipment in their community rooms to boost confidence and knowledge.

Residents and visitors to High Street West and Keel Square will experience the best WiFi download speeds in the country.

Patrick Melia, Chief Executive at Sunderland City Council, said: “We know that 5G connectivity is a necessity for urban environments of the future. Our smart city vision will equip Sunderland with the digital means to transform the capabilities of local businesses and the lives of local people.”

He adds: “The difference this will make to individuals across the city, as well as companies doing business here, is immeasurable. Everything we do now with smart devices will be better and faster, plus exciting innovations such as AR (augmented reality) and mobile virtual reality can be actualised.”

With heightened access to a speedy, reliable network to maximise connectivity and global business opportunities; Sunderland-based organisations will be further equipped to compete on a worldwide scale.

Equipping Sunderland to excel well into the future is a core aim of Sunderland City Council’s ‘Smart City Plan’, which provides the insight and blueprint to effect change over the next ten years and beyond.

It is built around three interdependent themes: dynamic, healthy and vibrant. These three areas position Sunderland as a place to live, learn and earn with support mechanisms underpinning access to education, employment and economic prosperity for Sunderland’s residents and businesses.

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