The advent of 4G wireless connectivity might feel pretty recent, but the UK is pressing ahead with what’s being referred to as “beyond 5G” networks. And surprisingly, the first Wireless Gigabit connected city in the world, for 1GB/s speeds, has been announced as none other than Slough in England.
For our foreign friends and anyone else unaware, Slough is the home of The Office’s David Brent and the town that poet John Betjeman referred to when he wrote “Come friendly bombs and fall on Slough”. It’s clearly come a long way since then, as not only will Slough soon have its own Crossrail station, it’ll also be the motherland of ‘beyond 5G’ Wireless Gigabit.
Angie Networks has signed a deal with Slough Council to install multi-terabit fibre broadband across the soon-to-be Smart City. For the last hundred feet, the connection to houses and business will be completely wireless. This can be used to offer super-fast Wi-Fi hotspot style connections to subscribing residents, everywhere. Since it’s all fibre-based, the upper limit on speeds is described by the company as “virtually unlimited” – although realistically it’s limited by the ten-terabit fibre.
Slough residents should be able to pay £30 per month for a Wireless Gigabit connection that they can use all over the city, says Angie Communications. That should mean a 1GB/s connection to residents of Slough anywhere they go, including in the home. In real terms that’s an HD film downloaded in about seven seconds. Of course, participants will also need a phone or computer than can support that sort of speed.
This new system will also mean a more intelligently live-connected Slough. Services that will arise from the upgrade include real-time public transport information, traffic and diversion updates, smart street lights, real-time parking data, live air quality information, public security news and more. Remote heath monitoring for out-patients as well as remote home security were also mentioned as potential possibilities.
As for time frames, Team Angie had the following to say about how long it would take for the Wireless Gigabit service to be rolled out across Slough:
“At the moment we are working with some partners on the design and engineering. Depending on availability, licensing and lead times we hope to have the first few square miles in Slough connected to the fibre network over the course of September (2016). Slough is about 12 square miles, so it will take a while before the entire area is rolled out. We plan to have Wireless Extreme fully operational by November (2016), and from January (2017) we will launch initial city-wide smart services and solutions.”