Sunderland named UK Smart City of the Year 2020
The city has beaten off competition from 10 others, including Belfast and Edinburgh, to scoop the title of Digital Leaders UK Smart City of the Year 2020.
The national competition celebrates digital transformation and is organised by the global initiative ‘Digital Leaders’, which works to promote IT worldwide
Sunderland City Council earned the top prize which recognises places that have prioritised digital transformation for the benefit of the most people, providing services and opportunities for communities and businesses alike.
Sunderland was shortlisted to the top 10 in June, followed by a public vote placing the city in the top three before a concluding round of judging saw a panel of experts determine the ultimate winner, announced this evening, Thursday, October 15.
City council chief executive Patrick Melia said: “Our ambitious plans have forged many technological partnerships between the council, businesses, educators and other specialists; all of which are enabling digital growth across the city.
"We know our sustainable and smart technologies will enable the city to overcome both economic and social challenges for years to come.
“Our digital agenda is not only making a huge difference in our city, to see that our collaborative efforts are being recognised at a national level shows the wider impact of these
achievements, positioning Sunderland as an extraordinary place to live, work and play.”
Highlights of the Smart City’s implementation to date, include:
*Upgrades to vital digital infrastructure connecting the city through the continuing rollout of free ultrafast public WiFi with download speeds surpassing the first 5G cities;
*Hudson Road Primary broadband speeds increased from 13MB to over 650MB, enabling virtual teaching and on-line coding clubs;
*Social housing tower block tenants in the city centre also benefiting from free ultrafast connectivity;
City council leader, Coun Graeme Miller, added: “Helping individuals,communities and businesses to leverage digital opportunities and prepare for the future are key drivers in our continued investment to improve connectivity.
“The benefits of this are far reaching as we advance our digital economy, providing healthcare solutions alongside embedding essential digital skills to mobilise the next generation of digital leaders.”