The 'fibre ring' which could change the way we see Sunderland
A ‘fibre ring’ for Sunderland could see homes, families and businesses connected to some of the fastest internet services in the country.
Plans for the project, which would encircle the city centre in a 25km loop, have been revealed by city leaders, who claim it could change everything from the way football fans watch matches, to how they travel to the Stadium of Light.
No price tag was mentioned for the scheme, but it is hoped that by taking the lead initially council bosses could encourage major providers to begin work on Wearside sooner.
“The fibre ring provides points from which to allow a BT or Virgin or other provider to take spurs off to other residential or business areas,” said Patrick Melia, chief executive of Sunderland City Council.
“[This would be] high capacity, low latency, latest fibre, which will last about 30 years in the ground – we’re now busy working up the final detail of that and will bring it forward in the near future.
“We currently pay to use someone else’s fibre ring, but this way we will own our own and we’re using it to try and pick up schools and health services, which enables them to take advantage.”
Mr Melia was speaking at a meeting of the North East Combined Authority’s Economic Development and Digital Advisory Board.
In 2019 it was confirmed Sunderland would be the first place in the UK to roll out super fast 5G wifi in the city centre.
But the ‘fibre ring’ plans could pave the way for wired connections to be extended into homes and businesses across Wearside.
The panel heard improved broadband speeds could be used to live stream the view from a jet cockpit to crowds at the annual Sunderland Air Show, offer a ‘a 360 degree display’ of matches at the Stadium of Light, or simply help improve traffic flows across the Wearmouth Bridge.
Mr Melia said the team had begun to develop six business cases looking at taking advantage of new infrastructure, including events such as the Spice Girls, the Sunderland Airshow and sporting events.