Mission 3
A connected city

Divider image of white boxes

Ensure connectivity is future proofed, resilient and improved so that our digital infrastructure can compete with the best in the UK.

The number of connected devices is expected to increase rapidly over the coming years. This will dramatically change how people and devices interact with content and services. As a result connectivity will have to be ubiquitous and capable of connecting both low powered and high throughput devices.

The Internet of Things has the potential to blur the boundaries between the physical and the digital world. It will allow us to constantly monitor and control our built and natural environments and will help us inform decision making. We need to ensure we have the necessary infrastructure in place to support these devices.

In order for Cardiff to prosper we need to look ahead and improve connectivity so that everyone benefits from the digital era. This will involve collaboration with telecommunication suppliers, landowners and public bodies to ensure that the city has the right digital infrastructure for the future.

In order for Cardiff to improve connectivity in the region we will:

Fibre connectivity is vital to a modern city. It is used to transmit data to and from our citizens and businesses, it facilitates innovation, make services more accessible, reduces social isolation, enhances learning in our schools and is the backbone for 5G and the Internet of Things (IoT).

High speed connectivity will support the growth of new technologies such as telehealth solutions, mobile entertainment, virtual reality, augmented reality, virtual learning environments and new ways of working. It is important that Cardiff is planning for the future to ensure that its businesses and citizens reap the benefits of fast connectivity.

Over 97% of premises across the city have broadband speeds of over 30M/bits per second. However, this level of service is not available city wide and is often delivered by copper as opposed to fibre.

We will explore and pursue new ways to increase the availability of affordable high speed fibre connectivity (also known as ‘fibre to the premise’ – FTTP) by investigating the use of open access infrastructure. This approach will promote competition, provide greater consumer choice and ultimately result in lower prices.

Telecommunication companies report that one of the biggest barriers to expanding coverage in the city are the costs associated with civil works involved in its delivery. To combat this issue we are actively pursuing the laying of additional ducting at new developments and new road schemes that take place throughout the city. This ducting will help telecommunication companies quickly roll out fibre connectivity in the Capital.

We will ensure that fibre connectivity around the city is improved and future-proofed so that everyone can benefit from fast, affordable and reliable connectivity.

Actions:

  • Identify areas with poor connectivity and work with telecommunication companies to encourage greater investment in these areas.
  • Investigate open access infrastructure to increase competition and reach less commercially viable areas.
  • Reduce costs for fibre installation by installing ducts in new developments and new roads schemes (‘dig once’ approach).
  • Work with our Cardiff Capital Region City Deal and Welsh Government to explore opportunities for improving fibre connectivity across the whole region.
  • Improve fibre infrastructure in key areas to support our growing creative, fin-tech and reg-tech sectors.

Cardiff broadband speeds

97% of premises have speeds of over 30M/bits per second available.

71.2% of premises have speeds of over 100M/bits per second available.

42.9% of premises have speeds of over 300M/bits per second available.

2.8% of premises have speeds of over 1G/bits per second available

Cardiff’s Internet Exchange places Cardiff in a strong position in terms of global connectivity and connecting to the outside world. IXCardiff is operated commercially by LINX and is Wales’ only internet exchange.

The presence of the Internet Exchange in Cardiff has the potential to boost employment in the area by attracting digital business. This will improve the digital economy and make Cardiff a more attractive place to live and work. For businesses, the Internet exchange can make a real difference as it can improve internet speeds, improve resilience and make sharing data and accessing online services faster and easier.

The benefit to customers are in terms of speed and reliability as data does not need to be sent hundreds of miles to internet exchanges outside of the region.

We will continue to embed IXCardiff into the region so that it attracts larger content providers, this will help deliver a richer internet experience to end users in the Region.

Actions:

  • Increase awareness and drive adoption of IXCardiff by engaging with businesses.
  • Engage with content providers and Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to attract them to IXCardiff.
  • Improve accessibility to IX Cardiff.

5G promises massively increased data speeds and low latency. 5G has been coined by some as a ‘leap of faith’ as it is difficult for us to imagine all the services and innovation that will take place over this spectrum in the next 10 years. However, we have seen some strong use cases in areas such as automated vehicles (AV), Internet of Things (IoT), augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR).

We want to ensure that Cardiff is ‘future proofed’ so we will support telecommunication suppliers in their bid to roll out 5G in Cardiff. This should speed up 5G roll outs and allow our citizens and businesses the opportunity to innovate and invent new services.

Cardiff has excellent mobile phone coverage with 96.8% of the city having outdoor 4G coverage. However, there is still a small proportion of Cardiff with poor signal coverage. We will work with telecommunication suppliers to reduce mobile ‘not spots’.

Actions:

  • Work with 5G telecommunication suppliers to support subsequent 5G roll-out throughout the city.
  • Build stronger relationships with the telecommunication companies.
  • Tackle mobile ‘not spots’ to improve mobile phone coverage by working closely with Central Government, Welsh Government and DCMS.
  • Work with 5G innovators to test and pilot use-cases that will bring benefits to the city.

Chart showing 4G coverage 96.8%, 3g at 99.9% and 2G at 99.8%

The Internet of Things (IoT) has the potential to transform the world we live in. It offers us an opportunity to gather information from the physical world and process it in the digital world. The data collected from IoT devices can be used to make informed decisions, to automate processes and allows for predictive modeling. IoT can reduce operating costs, create efficiencies and provide opportunities to develop new products or services.

We have seen numerous local authorities harness the power of IoT. For instance, local authorities have used sensors on salt bins to warn when levels are low, and temperature monitors embedded into the road surface to determine if gritting is needed.

We will expand our use of IoT and investigate creative ways of solving problems. We will take an outcome based approach to using IoT so that a wide range of benefits are seen throughout Cardiff.

Actions:

  • Create IoT business cases which are outcome based and take into account social, environmental and economic benefits.
  • Investigate city wide IoT platforms that can support a range of high throughput and low powered IoT devices, to tackle defined city challenges.
  • Create a ‘City Challenge’ where innovators can help address particular problems in the city using IoT.
  • Use IoT data to do predictive modelling and real time analytics to enhance social, environmental and economic outcomes.
Mission 4: A Mobile & Sustainable City

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