The West of England Combined Authority, with partners including Business West, has secured £5 million from government to trial a superfast 5G network at tourist destinations in Bristol and Bath.
The trial will see 5G infrastructure put in place at the Roman Baths in Bath, M Shed, We The Curious and Millennium Square in Bristol.
“Imagine a virtual Roman soldier showing you around the Roman Baths,” said West of England Mayor, Tim Bowles. “Now imagine this moving 360 degrees on your mobile phone at a resolution you have never experienced before - that’s what 5G technology can offer.
“The 5G Smart Tourism bid will allow us to trial some exciting technology at our top tourist attractions, whilst looking at wider and longer-term benefits for our region. This new technology holds the key to a more advanced, sustainable and smart future which will revolutionise the way we all live, travel and work.”
The 5G Smart Tourism project, funded by the Department for Digital Culture Media and Sport, brings together a partnership, led by the West of England Combined Authority. It is a diverse, high profile and highly skilled consortium including 5G network and service providers (BT, Zeetta, CCS, InterDigital, Bristol is Open) through to tourism and business support organisations (Destination Bristol and Business West), visitor destinations (The Roman Baths, The Grand Appeal’s Gromit Unleashed Arts Trail, MShed), ), innovation centre (Digital Catapult), tech hubs (Bristol VR Lab), SMEs and large businesses (IBI Group, Mativision, Smartify, Landmrk, 3Sixty, Bristol Futures Global, Mo-Sys), research bodies (University of Bristol, Kings College, London), world-class media and content companies (BBC, Aardman) and public sector partners Bath & North East Somerset Council and Bristol City Council.
James Durie, Chief Executive of Bristol Chamber of Commerce & Initiative, Business West, said:
“Its excellent news to hear the Government’s decision to award 5G funding to this Bristol & Bath bid.
“It is great to see that our visitor economy is being recognised and that it will help it continue to be at the forefront of technological developments, which will in turn help enhance our cultural heritage offering.
“The 5G project is another good example of the great collaborative working between business community and partners in education and local Government focusing on how we together we can make this region the best it can be.”
The project will build upon the 5G network already developed by the University of Bristol, through earlier DCMS funding, to establish experimentation capabilities for digital innovation. The University of Bristol's world-leading expertise on telecommunications and pioneering research on 5G technologies and networks has been pivotal in defining and delivering the Smart Tourism Bid. The University of Bristol's Smart Internet Lab is driving the 5G agenda both locally and nationally and is one of three UK sites, which will deliver the world's first end-to-end 5G system trials in March 2018, thanks to £16m investment from DCMS. This know-how and infrastructure will be key in delivering 5G trials for the West of England visitor economy.