Aberdeen City Council is bidding to play a leading role in the UK-wide roll-out of 5G connectivity.

An application to the UK Government’s 5G Urban Connected Communities project will be lodged this week as plans for the city’s digital future gather pace.

The scheme is run by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport – with successful cities set to trial emerging 5G technologies for residents and businesses.

The bid follows the announcement in February that Aberdeen is to become Scotland’s first gigabit city through a £40million investment from CityFibre. The firm is working in partnership with Vodafone to deliver full-fibre broadband throughout the city.

The 5G project will tap into £200million of funding to support the development of mobile connectivity and to test solutions to existing challenges.

Aberdeen has previously led in 4G pilot schemes and, through the Aberdeen City Region Deal, is moving forward with plans to deliver a city wide IoT Network and a Regional Data Exchange Platform as integral parts of the bid and the Smart City vision.

Cllr Douglas Lumsden, Co-Leader of Aberdeen City Council, said: “Our ambitions are for a smart city where technology is the driver for a prosperous future for residents and businesses.

“Digital infrastructure is vitally important to realising that vision and already significant progress is being made. We are proud of the work to become a gigabit city and the role the Council, through its own investment in infrastructure for public buildings, has played.

“There is a real determination to build on the foundations already in place and this bid is an example of that forward-thinking attitude. There will be stern competition – but we believe Aberdeen has a compelling case.”

The regional economic strategy has diversification and internationalisation at its core, with digital capability viewed as integral to both of those strands.

With an international reputation as a centre of excellence for research and development, Aberdeen’s bid will be underpinned by the city’s reputation as a pioneer of new technology.

It is being supported by business organisations including the Aberdeen and Grampian Chamber of Commerce and Aberdeen Inspired.

Cllr Lumsden added: “Aberdeen’s future success depends on technology being an enabler, not a barrier. The Council is really driving the digital agenda and we will consider every opportunity open to us.

“Users increasingly demand seamless access – so fixed and wireless connectivity has to evolve to meet those requirements. 5G has a major role in that and it would fantastic if Aberdeen could play its part in tests and trials.”