Kingston Council and Boldyn Networks have been awarded £250k of government funding to deploy smart, multi-purpose lamp columns across the borough to boost mobile connectivity and enhance public safety.

Kingston is one of only six areas in the United Kingdom to be awarded funding by the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology (DSIT) as part of its ‘Smart Infrastructure Pilots’ programme.

The £250,000 will enable the deployment of smart technology in approximately 20 sites. Each column will be used to trial new capabilities, including improving mobile coverage, electric vehicle charging, CCTV cameras and Internet of Things (IoT) sensors to manage better borough services, such as monitoring footfall and air quality.

The CCTV cameras will enhance public safety through improved picture quality across several new locations, acting as a deterrent to criminal and anti-social behaviour. The cameras will not be used for traffic monitoring.   

Councillor Afy Afilaka, portfolio holder for culture, heritage and governance, said:

“This pilot programme will help us to reduce inequalities and boost opportunities in our borough by using existing street furniture to increase connectivity for residents, businesses and visitors and enhance public safety.

“While Kingston is one of the safest boroughs in London, we are committed to making it even safer for all our communities; we welcome the improvement to the CCTV network, which we hope will further deter crime and anti-social behaviour, making Kingston even safer for everyone.”

The winning bids were announced at a digital industry event, Connected Britain, on 20 September.  

Minister for Data and Digital Infrastructure Sir John Whittingdale said:

“The way we stay in touch, access information and do business is underpinned by digital connectivity – and a world-class wireless infrastructure will be the foundation for the jobs, skills, and services of the future.

“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.

“They will help demonstrate how advanced wireless technology can enable areas to innovate and deliver better public services, from rolling out electric vehicle chargers to boosting business growth and helping keep our streets safe.”

Billy D’Arcy, CEO of UK & Ireland at Boldyn Networks, said:

“We are delighted that our smart column design has been announced as one of the winners of DSIT’s Smart Infrastructure Pilots programme alongside our partners at Kingston Council. The funding offers a great opportunity to trial smart infrastructure and showcase the benefits that high-speed connectivity offers to local communities. We’re looking forward to seeing the next-generation columns in action and supporting the borough’s move towards becoming a smart community.”   

Additionally, a new fibre’ ring network’ from Boldyn Networks will be rolled out across Kingston town centre to further improve connectivity for local businesses and nearby residents. This is expected to be introduced next year (2024).

Earlier this year, Boldyn completed work to improve connectivity to 41 CCTV locations as part of another project funded by the Greater London Authority via Transport for London (TfL). This work enabled multiple clusters of CCTV cameras to record higher quality and more reliable images. The footage will be of high enough quality to use as evidence in court, representing a significant boost to public safety.

The cameras will 

extend the current CCTV network that links to the local police centre.


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