Potential sites in Northumberland identified to be part of new 5G Innovation Region
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This new technology will be integrated at five sites around the region with initial potential identified at: Kielder Castle and Forest, The Sill @ Hadrian’s Wall, Destination Tweed, Windermere 5G Ferry and Stranraer Marina.
These projects have been chosen because they can be delivered and replicated, with learnings feeding into the Borderlands’ renewed Digital Infrastructure Strategy, and building on the existing success of the Borderlands Digital Voucher scheme which has invested £3.4m across Cumbria and Northumberland.
The successful 5G bid submitted by the Borderlands Partnership comprises five cross-border local authorities including Northumberland.
They say that making full use of the opportunity from the better functionality of 5G is essential if the Partnership is to fulfil its vision for a revitalised Borderlands of increased job and business opportunities, and attracting more people to live, work and visit the region.
5G Innovation has both commercial and environmental applications, with examples including supporting digital ticketing and payments, providing real time traffic and destination management and monitoring water quality through wireless enabled buoys.
Cllr Richard Wearmouth, deputy leader of Northumberland County Council and cabinet member for corporate services, said: “This is fantastic news for our region, particularly for Northumberland where we know there are still improvements to be made with connectivity, especially in our rural areas.
“This investment in 5G technology is a fantastic example of collaborative work across the North East which will enable innovation and progress as well as new opportunities for economic growth, improved connectivity, and enhanced public services.
“5G development is a key milestone in our journey toward better connected businesses and communities and I am excited about the positive impact it will have.”
Cllr Mark Fryer, leader of Cumberland Council and Borderlands Partnership co-chair, added: “The Borderlands is world renowned as a tourist destination but historically has lacked digital connectivity to enable people to make the most of their visit and for all our communities to gain the most benefit from these visitors.
“We have ambitions of region wide connectivity which will seamlessly support access to community and visitor information, wayfinding, highlight areas of congestion and encourage visitors to explore the hidden parts of our region.
“Advanced wireless technology can enhance how we tell the story of Borderlands communities, building the tourist economy whilst protecting our environment and local assets.”
Sir John Whittingdale MP, Minister of Data and Digital Infrastructure, said: “We’re channelling millions into local areas to unlock the potential of cutting-edge 5G wireless and digital technologies.
"This new fund will give local areas from across the country the opportunity to be at the forefront of Britain’s world-leading 5G revolution.
“For instance, by using 5G for farming and creating science parks, we're not just helping local communities, but also encouraging new ideas all over the UK. This is more than just linking smartphones. It's about using powerful digital connections to transform various sectors in the economy and the public sector throughout the entire country.”