Sunderland University to be one of UK's first 5G campuses as part of city-wide rollout on Wearside

Future developments will included wifi in the Stadium of Light and in Roker. Credit: University of Sunderland

Students at the University of Sunderland could soon experience better connectivity as it is set to become one of the first 5G campuses in the UK.

As part of the network upgrade, the university will get a 5G test lab that will be used for research and a so-called 'Internet of Things.'

This will improve services across its campuses like estate management and access to wifi for visiting members of the public.

5G is the fifth generation of broadband on portable devices, like mobile phones, and works up to 100 times faster than the current 4G system.

The installation of the ultra-fast network is part of a city-wide rollout which will see wireless public internet access set up across the city and other areas of Wearside.

It is being implemented with the help of BAI Communications and Sunderland City Council.

Initially a 5G test lab will be installed on the university's Sir Tom Cowie campus at St Peter's which will support research, teaching, and student experience.

The installation of 5G and the Internet of Things will not only be used by students but also in local industries like manufacturing and health care which the university hopes will open employment opportunities.

It is hoped the 5G network will accelerate the ambition for Sunderland to become the UK’s most advanced smart city by 2030, helping to make the North East a leader in digital innovation.

Future developments will include wifi in the Stadium of Light and in Roker.

Sir David Bell, vice chancellor of the University of Sunderland, said: "Enabling students to benefit from technological enhancements on campus will enhance their education in a state-of-the-art learning environment.

"In addition, the creation of the new 5G test lab is a major step forward and will cement the University’s place as a leader in research and innovation in the field."

“We’re immensely proud of the work we are doing in Sunderland" said Billy D’Arcy, CEO of BAI Communications UK. "It will help it become one of the UK’s leading smart cities."

Patrick Melia, chief executive of Sunderland City Council, said: “Our city has a proud industrial history and our partnership with BAI Communications will make Sunderland a hub for the digital industries of the future, and the university plays a crucial role in providing the skills and innovation needed to achieve that.”

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