This pilot project, valued at £4 million, will receive £1.3 million in funding from the central government, in addition to contributions from local authorities in Cambridgeshire, Tees Valley, Kingston upon Thames, Westminster, Oxfordshire, and North Ayrshire.
Besides boosting connectivity and offering EV charging, these lamp posts can be equipped with technology to monitor air quality and provide public information.
The Department for Science, Innovation and Technology (DSIT) explained that by testing various applications in the participating areas, the pilot aims to demonstrate how this technology could become an integral part of the UK’s infrastructure in the future.
The system could prove particularly beneficial for expanding 5G networks, as they require a significantly higher number of cell towers for complete coverage compared to previous-generation networks. The central government’s funding is part of the Smart Infrastructure Pilots Programme (SIPP), an initiative by DSIT to promote 5G adoption nationwide.
Minister for Data and Digital Infrastructure, Sir John Whittingdale, emphasized the importance of strong digital connectivity for various aspects of life and business. He highlighted the significance of these pilot programs in ensuring that UK towns and cities are at the forefront of the connectivity revolution, ready to harness the opportunities it offers for local communities.
The pilot initiatives are scheduled to commence next month and will run until March 31, 2025.
Julian David, CEO of TechUK, a trade body for UK tech firms, welcomed the government’s announcement, emphasizing the need to empower more local authorities to promote advanced connectivity in their regions. He also noted that enhancing connectivity is essential to address concerns like “range anxiety” and encourage the adoption of electric vehicles.