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Sunderland venues receive 5G funding boost

Featured image credit: Mrs Logic/CC BY 2.0/Edited for size

Featured image credit: Mrs Logic/CC BY 2.0/Edited for size

Two sporting venues in the English city of Sunderland have received £5.7m (€6.6m/$7.1m) in grant funding to boost 5G connectivity in the area.

The Stadium of Light, home of Championship football club Sunderland AFC, and British Esports’ National Esports Performance Campus have obtained funding from the Open Networks Ecosystem (ONE) competition.

The Sunderland Open Network EcosysTem (SONET) Project is being led by Sunderland City Council and a consortium of partners, including Sunderland AFC, British Esports, Boldyn Networks and Perform Green.

The funding will result in faster, more reliable 4G and 5G mobile connectivity at the two venues. SONET is harnessing next-generation technology to enable more engaging real-time interactions through enhanced ticketing processes, smart venue navigation, and augmented reality.

SONET will also reduce power consumption through a much smaller footprint to contribute towards Sunderland’s drive towards net zero across the city. The funding for the SONET Project forms part of the government’s £250m Department for Science, Innovation and Technology Open Networks R&D Fund.

Steve Davison, chief operating officer at Sunderland AFC, said: “This is fantastic news for the City of Sunderland and Sunderland AFC. We are a modern and progressive organisation constantly seeking new ways to embrace innovation and technology, and the SONET Project will unlock immense potential when considering our in-stadium experience.

“An aligned approach from all stakeholders continues to ensure the City of Sunderland sets the standard nationally and from concerts and events to live sport, this latest transformative milestone will allow us to take further immense strides forward.”

Chester King, chief executive at British Esports, added: “I’m immensely proud of British Esports and our partners for securing the SONET 5G bid in Sunderland. This signifies a monumental leap forward for our new arena, part of the National Esports Performance Campus. With the power of 5G connectivity, we are poised to redefine the future of live esports and sports experiences.

“The arena (opening Q1 2024) will become a centre for cutting-edge technology, offering players, fans, and enthusiasts an unparalleled environment for growth, engagement, and innovation. This milestone not only cements our commitment to the esports community but also reinforces our dedication to driving progress in the industry, both locally and on a global scale.”

The esports arena will be located near the Stadium of Light. Planning approval for the project was granted last month.

Posted in Technology