£1.5m for councils to make lamp posts smarter


Ministers have announced up to £1.5m for six local authority-led pilots to test the capacity for ‘smart multi-purpose columns’ – or lamp posts – to deliver smart services such as wifi or electric vehicle charging.

The Smart Infrastructure Pilots Programme (SIPP), a joint initiative between the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology (DSIT) and the Department for Transport, aims to help councils deploy advanced digital infrastructure such as ‘smart lampposts’.

The DSIT said SIPP will support the ambition set out in the Government’s recently published Wireless Infrastructure Strategy for people, business and public services across the UK to realise the full benefits of 5G and other advanced wireless connectivity – from economic to environmental growth.

The £1.5m for six pilots will be matched by smart service providers working with the participating local authorities, to procure and test ‘innovative smart multi-purpose columns or lampposts’.

The DSIT said these are street furniture that have the capacity to deliver a range of smart services, including improved mobile network connectivity, public wifi, electric vehicle charging, public safety and environmental monitoring.

Technology and decarbonisation minister Jesse Norman said: ‘By turning lamp posts and other road infrastructure into smart devices such as public wifi 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.’

The Smart Infrastructure Pilots Programme is open from Thursday (15 June) to all eligible UK local authorities. The deadline for applications is Friday 7 July.

Potential participants can register for a briefing event on Thursday.

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