Editor’s note: Originally posted on 19.08.20 and updated on 26.10.20

Sunderland is continuing its efforts to become one of the UK’s fastest cities in terms of 5G-ready WiFi connectivity.

As the summer of 2020 reaches its height and increasing numbers of people venture outdoors after lockdown, UK towns and cities are now looking to optimise crowd control and event management. This is just one of the many areas where superfast outdoor WiFi provides substantial benefits.

KBR were recently enlisted by Sunderland City Council to install free, ultrafast WiFi from Roker Beach to Stack Seaburn, the latter of which is a £2.5 million leisure area on the Sunderland coast set to open at the end of August. This means visitors to the area now have access to some of the fastest public WiFi in the country.

Aside from the benefits to residents and visitors, Sunderland’s rapidly growing digital infrastructure will also have a very positive impact on local healthcare and education. Upcoming projects include Assistive Technology for healthcare, as well as enhancing connectivity in local schools to enable better teaching and learning facilities.

Gareth Tomlin, KBR Managing Director, said: “This is one of the fastest outdoor public WiFi installations, with 2.3km of continual WiFi coverage and speeds in excess of 200Mbps per client.

“Projects such as this allow us to demonstrate KBR’s collective experience and expertise in delivering outstanding results across all areas, including specification, project management, installation and technical delivery. Despite the challenges posed by the Covid-19 epidemic, we were still able to deliver this solution safely and successfully.”

Sunderland City Council Chief Executive, Patrick Melia, added: “Ultrafast connectivity on the seafront here between Roker and Seaburn brings many opportunities to position Sunderland as a tourism destination as well as bringing in the latest technologies to enhance outdoor events.

“Vendors and partners at events such as Sunderland Airshow, which is held at the Roker and Seaburn seafronts, will benefit from a faster and more interactive mechanism to keep people informed in the build up to and during events. The new high-speed infrastructure offers advantages for heightened public safety and the ability to inform and cascade information instantly to attendees via push notifications to smart phones.”

As a result of their efforts in digital transformation, Sunderland has been crowned the UK’s leading smart city 2020 in the Digital Leaders 100 List.

Excelling above 10 other nominated cities from across the UK, including Belfast and Edinburgh, the award for Smart City of the Year recognises places that have prioritised digital transformation for the wider benefit, providing an array of services and creating opportunities for communities and businesses alike.

Sunderland Our Smart City Project Manager, Andrew Parsons, explained: “Winning Smart City of the Year 2020 is testament to the hard work of our whole team, and by that I mean the wider team including our valued partners at KBR. This success wouldn’t have happened without the help, input and dedication of their team of experts. Here’s to many more successes as we create our digitally connected smart city of Sunderland.”

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