Bath has been chosen to trial a superfast 5G network.
The West of England Combined Authority has secured £5m of government funding to test the 5G network in the city, as well as Bristol.
The trial will see 5G infrastructure put in place at the Roman Baths in Bath, as well as Bristol’s M Shed, and in and around We The Curious and Millennium Square in Bristol.
West of England mayor Tim Bowles said: “Imagine a virtual Roman soldier showing you around the Roman Baths. 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 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.”
Councillor Tim Warren, leader of Bath & North East Somerset Council, said: “We’re proud to be part of this innovation which supports our commitment to providing 21st-Century technology across Bath.
“We hope it will enhance the experience for people visiting such heritage gems as the Roman Baths.”
5G is set to be the largest step forward for mobile network technology yet, offering much faster speeds than 4G. It could support everything from driverless cars to smarter homes. The trial will look at this wider impact and how the West of England can become a smart region, using new technology to link up our transport and homes, hospitals and schools.
Professor Steve West, chair of the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership, said the trial was “great news”.
“5G offers significant business growth opportunities for our tech sector,” he added.
“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.”
The project will build upon the 5G network already developed by the University of Bristol, through earlier government funding, to establish experimentation capabilities for digital innovation.
The University of Bristol’s world-leading expertise on telecommunications and pioneering research on 5G technologies and networks has been pivotal in defining and delivering the Smart Tourism Bid.
The university’s Smart Internet Lab is driving the 5G agenda both locally and nationally, and is one of three UK sites which will deliver the world’s first end-to-end 5G system trials in March 2018, thanks to £16m government investment.