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Oxfordshire to Trial Innovative Street Lamps Boosting Connectivity with £250,000 Funding

today28/09/2023 31

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Oxfordshire is set to pioneer multi-functional street columns capable of charging electric vehicles and enhancing wireless service coverage, following a £250,000 grant awarded to Oxfordshire County Council to trial groundbreaking digital technology.

Acknowledging the growing need for superior wireless services, Oxfordshire is exploring smart infrastructure integrations into various street elements such as lamp posts, traffic lights, CCTV columns, benches, bins, and bus stops, to support the deployment of advanced wireless networks including 5G or free public WiFi.

This venture involves six local authorities, with Oxfordshire County Council being a notable participant, to test these innovative street columns, which are versatile, serving multiple purposes including EV charging, air quality monitoring, public information display, and energy-efficient street lighting. This initiative complements Oxfordshire County Council’s ongoing efforts to substitute halogen bulbs with energy-efficient LEDs.

The funding, sourced from the government’s Smart Infrastructure Pilots Programme (SIPP), will be matched by the authority, culminating in a total investment of £500,000.

Councillor Liz Leffman, Leader of Oxfordshire County Council, expressed her delight at securing this funding, stating: “It will help us in building and delivering our strategy for improving digital connectivity. This includes EV charging access, improving street-level mobile connectivity and creating a network of ‘Internet of Things’ devices¹ measuring aspects such as air quality monitoring.”

This pilot project aims to showcase how modern connected installations can assist local authorities in enhancing service delivery within their communities.

Sir John Whittingdale, Minister for Data and Digital Infrastructure, emphasized the foundational role of a top-notch wireless infrastructure in shaping future jobs, skills, and services, saying, “We want to ensure that towns and cities across the UK are right at the forefront of this connectivity revolution, ready to seize the opportunities it will bring for local communities, which is exactly what these pilots are about.”

He added that these pilots are pivotal in demonstrating how cutting-edge wireless technology can empower areas to innovate and render superior public services, such as rolling out electric vehicle chargers, fueling business growth, and ensuring street safety.

The SIPP aligns with the government’s wireless infrastructure strategy to centralize wireless connectivity in new and existing infrastructures, propel private investments, spur innovation, and open new avenues for economic advancement.

The commencement of the pilot projects is slated for October 2023, extending until 31 March 2025.

Written by: Hamish Law

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