25 Oct 2022
by Liz St Louis

Sunderland – the UK’s leading smart city (Guest blog by Sunderland City Council)

Guest blog by Liz St Louis, Director of Smart Cities at Sunderland City Council #LocalDigitalCapital

This week (24-28 October) techUK is running its Nations and Regions Week to coincide with the publication of our 2022 Local Digital Capital Index, a tool designed to aid discussions and decisions in strengthening local tech ecosystems across the UK. 

All week we'll be featuring guest blogs from members celebrating the contributions made by the tech sector to drive forward levelling up, digital adoption, develop digital skills, connect people, and harness R&D in the UK’s nations and regions

Read the latest blog below:

Through a 20-year joint venture partnership, Sunderland City Council and world leader in shared communications infrastructure, BAI Communications, are developing the world’s first ‘Smart City and 5G Neutral Host’.

This project aims to deliver the next generation of digital infrastructure which will enable Sunderland to become a global centre of excellence. This is achieved by using data to inform better decision-making and providing solutions for a smarter future.

These are a few of the initiatives developed through the partnership:

  • Ultrafast free public WiFi  – rolling out a huge expansion of the public WiFi footprint to tackle digital inclusion – giving residents without broadband, safe spaces to access the internet for free, whilst enabling transformational experiences for visitors, supporting provision for businesses and boosting the local economy
  • Provision of LoRaWAN/IOT (City-wide low range wide area network) connectivity – facilitating transmission of data across the Sunderland networked sensor landscape to measure and improve city performance, support assistive living technologies, inform traffic/flood management, measure air quality, underpin city centre and building energy management, facilitate smart waste management and more.
  • A private 5G small cell network – enabling a cost-effective way for a broad range of organisations to adopt cutting-edge 5G connectivity to boost productivity and improve services. Organisations such as a new eye infirmary (one of only three in UK) driving forward advances in healthcare, Sunderland’s renowned advanced manufacturing cluster and Sunderland’s University where 5G will enhance research and teaching.

This is allowing breadth of reach to maximise benefits to communities across the city, leveraging data-driven insights and transforming all aspects of education, health and social care, as well as manufacturing capabilities and business competitiveness, leaving no-one and nowhere behind.

To learn more about this partnership and find out how you can get involved, please contact the Smart City Programme team at [email protected]


techUK – Building Stronger Local Economies

techUK champions the tech sector throughout the UK. We work with local authorities, devolved government, and local and national policy makers to advocate for the tech sector in strengthening economic growth and resilience. We provide opportunities for our members and local stakeholders to meet, build relationships, and collaborate to drive forward local projects. For more information or to get in touch, please visit our Nations and Regions Hub and click ‘contact us’. 





Liz St Louis

Liz St Louis

Director of Smart Cities, Sunderland City Council