A £5m project will bring next-generation 5G wireless to millions of tourists visiting Bristol and Bath each year.

“Imagine a virtual Roman soldier showing you around the Roman Baths”


The trial will see 5G infrastructure put in place at the Roman Baths in Bath, the M Shed and in and around We The Curious and Millennium Square in Bristol using technology from leading Bristol companies such as Zeetta Networks.

“Imagine a virtual Roman soldier showing you around the Roman Baths,” says West of England Mayor, Tim Bowles (pictured right). “Now imagine this moving 360 degrees on your mobile phone at a resolution you have never experienced before – that’s what 5G technology can offer.”

The deal highlights the leading role of the region in the development of 5G technology. It has already been demonstrated in Bristol through the Bristol is Open testbed, and Bristol-based Blu Wireless Technology is also supplying equipment for two other 5G demonstrations in Liverpool and the Midlands.

“The 5G Smart Tourism bid will allow us to trial some exciting technology at our top tourist attractions”


The Liverpool 5G testbed will see Blu Wireless provide wireless technology needed for bringing gigabit broadband networks to deprived areas, building the foundation for next-generation healthcare services; whilst the AutoAir 5G testbed for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CAV) is a pilot project for providing high-speed transport (cars, buses and trains) with sufficient real-time network bandwidth. Both are using 5G connectivity at high frequencies.

“5G offers significant business growth opportunities for our tech sector,” says Professor Steve West, Chair of the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership. “The West of England is well placed to become a smart region – we are home to the largest cluster of digital expertise outside London, and our businesses and universities are at the forefront of innovation in next generation networks including 5G.”

Smart collaboration

The 5G Smart Tourism project includes 5G network and service providers such as BT, Zeetta Networks, CCS, InterDigital and Bristol is Open, through to tourism and business support organisations such as Destination Bristol and Business West, visitor destinations including the Roman Baths, The Grand Appeal’s Gromit Unleashed Arts Trail and MShed, innovation centre Digital Catapult, tech hubs Bristol VR Lab, SMEs and large businesses including IBI Group, Mativision, Smartify, Landmrk, 3Sixty, Bristol Futures Global, Mo-Sys.

Collaborators also include research bodies such as University of Bristol, Kings College, London, world-class media and content companies BBC and Aardman, as well as the councils of Bath & North East Somerset and Bristol City.

“The 5G Smart Tourism bid will allow us to trial some exciting technology at our top tourist attractions, whilst looking at wider and longer-term benefits for our region. This new technology holds the key to a more advanced, sustainable and smart future which will revolutionise the way we all live, travel and work,” says Margot James, Minister of State for Digital and the Creative Industries.

Nick Flaherty