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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.


    The success of Bristol as a digital city will depend upon how well we use and develop our city-wide connections. Success will rely on more than infrastructure alone – we will need citizens with the knowledge, skills and access to take advantage of the opportunities offered by the city’s strong digital sector. The council is playing its part with an outward-looking digital strategy which looks for opportunities to partner and improve citizens’ digital opportunities. The council is also using its own 250 km duct and fibre network – BNET – to attract investment in our digital infrastructure and bring fibre-to-the-premise services to more homes and businesses.

    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.

    The last few years 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 187km of its 250km 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

    Open Data

    Open Data is data that anyone can access, use, and share. Bristol gives access to over 250 datasets which can be viewed and downloaded in a variety of formats. They can be used for any purpose and there is no charge to use the site. Datasets cover a range of themes such as population, education and transport. The data is updated regularly and new datasets are added over time. The platform includes data on the Air Quality in Bristol, supporting and evidencing the One City Plan objective to improve air quality in the City Centre by the introduction of the Clean Air Zone.

    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

    Aerial of Bristol City at dusk

    Contact the team

    Jack Allan

    Economic Development Officer

    Or send us an enquiry