Sunderland is leading the charge to superfast connectivity, after becoming the first city in the UK to deploy 5G ready WiFi.

Keel Square and High Street West have become the first two streets in Sunderland to boast 5G WiFi and Sunderland City Council is also working on an ambitious array of plans and collaborative projects to boost the city’s digital infrastructure for the benefit of residents and businesses alike.

This high-level pilot will continue to be rolled out across early 2020 with superfast 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 superfast 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.

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 added: “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.”

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.