Smart lamppost

Advanced digital infrastructure support for local authorities

The government has announced a programme that will ensure that local authorities are able to roll out advanced digital infrastructure in their communities, boosting digital connectivity.

The Smart Infrastructure Pilots Programme (SIPP) will allocate £1.5 million of funding to six local authority pilots, with the initiative being led by the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology and the Department for Transport. The funding will be matched by smart service providers that will collaborate with the participating authorities to procure and test multi-purpose columns and lamp posts.

With the capacity to deliver a wide range of smart devices, the columns and lampposts will be able to provide services such as improved network connectivity, public Wi-Fi, electric vehicle charging, public safety, and environmental monitoring. This technology has the potential to save money for local authorities, whilst also increasing connectivity and delivering on wider ambitions.

Alongside supporting local authorities, SIPP is also contributing to the government’s goals to realise the full benefits of 5G and other advanced wireless connectivity technology, as established in the recently published Wireless Infrastructure Strategy for people, business, and public services. The announcement also contributed to the government’s overall levelling up ambitions and realising the benefits of good connectivity in communities around the UK.

Jesse Norman, Technology and Decarbonisation Minister, said:

“By turning lamp posts and other road infrastructure into smart devices such as public Wi-Fi points, the government are investing in the ways everyday transport infrastructure can be transformed for a greener, cleaner future.

“This programme will boost connectivity across the country and increase electric vehicle charging access, helping us to reach our net zero goals.”

This announcement comes as part of a package of connectivity initiatives that have been announced during the 10th London Tech Week, with other schemes including connections to high-speed satellite broadband and a Memorandum of Understanding between the UK and Australia. The MoU will see the two nations working together to achieve telecoms diversification and reduce global reliance on a small number of vendors.

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