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Connected City

Bristol has the opportunity to lead the information revolution – with our world-class universities, tech sector, incubator spaces and infrastructure – but needs to ensure this potential is shared and accessible to unleash the talent and innovation of the whole city.

The so called Fourth Industrial Revolution will create both challenges and opportunities for the city as trends like automation, the ‘internet of things’, artificial intelligence and disruptive business models influence the city. These forces will change how we work, live, play and move around the city, and address energy use challenges in the future.

To be smart and sustainable in response to global and future challenges, such as climate change, we have pledged to be carbon neutral by 2030, and have committed to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals in our ambitious 2050 One City Plan: to be will be a well-connected city with world class urban communication infrastructure and services.

Connecting Bristol

Smart City Strategy


One City Economic Recovery and Renewal Strategy


    The success of Bristol as a smart city will depend upon how well we use and develop our city wide connections. Success will rely on more than infrastructure alone – will need smart citizens, with the knowledge, skills and access  to the opportunities, the technology will provide. To that end, over the next five years we will continue to develop a foundation of digital infrastructure, outlined in our strategy, Connecting Bristol – laying the foundations for a smart, well-connected future.

    It’s more than just knowledge, skills and access. It’s confidence as well. We need council officers and city leaders with digital knowledge and skills, as they are the ones who will be driving many of these initiatives.

    COVID-19 has demonstrated the significance of digital networks for work, connecting people and for access to public services and information. Our priorities therefore include Increasing digital literacy and skills via a rapid expansion of 5G and fibre infrastructure, particularly in those parts of the city with the most limited access, reducing the ‘digital divide’.

    We cannot develop this vision on our own, so are seeking collaboration and alignment from long-term partners. With our extensive council-owned ducting and fibre network, the research and development company Bristol is Open and the world class Bristol Operations Centre, we make a well-placed and attractive partner.

    Two sets of hands holding a mobile phone in each


    Our council-owned duct and fibre network, BNET, is already the third biggest duct network in the city with 115 of its 200km in daily use.

    We now want BNET to become a citywide open access network, working with communications providers, partners and investors to help Bristol achieve its 100% full fibre ambition, with all homes, businesses and development zones within 200m of the network. BNET will also serve schools, libraries and outlying public service buildings, be connected to integrated street furniture and improve links to neighbouring local authority networks.

    We’re looking for a different way of delivering digital transformation, which aligns with our social, environmental and economic goals and priorities. There is an opportunity for forward-looking organisations and investors to establish a new, public-private business model that meets the challenges of the digital infrastructure needed for our smart and future city.

    Strategic Alignments

    Investment to address the digital divide SDG: 9.1, 10.2, 10.3, 4.4, 1.4, 17.17

    Address the shifting demand for skills in key sectors SDG4.4, 4.5

    Support business to diversify and be more resilient SDG: 8.3

    Aerial shot of Bristol showing time lapse of traffic through the town

    Bristol is Open/Open Programmable City Region

    Bristol Is Open (BIO) is a vehicle for experimental broadband, wireless and high-performance computing infrastructure that will stimulate and study the convergence in cities of different telecommunication, software, hardware, data and sensing technologies.

    The BIO Smart City Platform (SCP) has the potential to be an intelligent disaggregated network of computing nodes distributed across four key partner sites: We the Curious, Watershed, Engine Shed and the University of Bristol (expanding to nine or ten nodes under the Open Programmable City Region network extension). Each site hosts multiple virtual machines and data storage, providing servers, computational intelligence and analytics services, virtual networking and database/data warehouse, and all sites and computing assets are linked by a resilient fibre ring.

    We want to take BIO to a new level and provide a true city-wide Smart City R&D network enabling partners to collaborate on new technology and providing a test-bed for fixed, wireless, IoT and future Smart City technologies.

    Strategic Alignments

    Investment to address the digital divide SDG: 9.1, 10.2, 10.3, 4.4, 1.4, 17.17

    Accelerate infrastructure investment to create the conditions for equitable and sustainable growth SDG: 9.1, 9.c

    Mshed night shot showing a crane and the water

    Welcome Aboard – Open Data Programme

    This programme enables data to be shared and built-on by anyone, anywhere, for any purpose. Working closely with other Bristol City Council departments, it has focused on maintaining the Open Data Bristol Platform which freely provides over 210 quality data sets on a range of themes such as population, education, leisure and tourism, and transport. Through the programme’s ‘Our Data’ initiative, over 12 separate stakeholder events have been undertaken to promote awareness and use of the platform.

    The programme’s successes include the Period Friendly Bristol web app, which supports the mayor’s 2019 One City priority of addressing period poverty, and a high-profile hackathon, sponsored by Innovate UK, looking at data solutions for homelessness and housing problems in Bristol and Bath.

    Strategic Alignments

    Investment to address the digital divide SDG: 9.1, 10.2, 10.3 , 1.4, 17.17

    Support business to diversify and be more resilient: 10.2, 10.3

    Address the shifting demand for skills in key sectors SDG: 4.4, 4.5

    Accelerate infrastructure investment to create the conditions for equitable and sustainable growth SDG: 9.1, 9.c

    Aerial of Bristol City at dusk

    Contact the team

    Jack Allan

    Economic Development Officer

    Or send us an enquiry