Cornerstone to Build New 5G Neutral Host Network via UK Street Lights

Mobile infrastructure firm Cornerstone, which handles the UK network sharing agreement between O2 (VMO2) and Vodafone (Vantage Towers), has today joined forces with Signify in a new partnership that aims to put luminaire technology into lamp heads on street lights in order to build a new Outdoor 5G and IoT Neutral Host platform in urban areas.

The ideal of putting 4G/5G mobile and Internet of Things (IoT) kit and sensors on top of street lights or lamp posts is of course nothing new. Small cells are often deployed in this way around some dense urban areas, assuming an operator can secure the necessary concession agreement from a local authority.

NOTE: Cornerstone manages a UK estate of 15,500 sites (masts, rooftops, small cells etc.).

The new plan above seems to be similarly aimed at tackling the growing demand for digital and data connectivity in urban areas, albeit this time by deploying an outdoor Neutral Host platform (i.e. a network that mobile operators or other communications providers can then buy access to via wholesale) and using Signify’s luminaire technology – “allowing communities seamless access to public networks“.

Sadly, the announcement doesn’t clarify precisely what luminaire technology actually means, although their website does make reference to a “BrightSites Broadband Luminaire” family of products, which help to spread multi-gigabit mesh network speeds (data capacity) by harnessing radio spectrum in the 60GHz (mmW) band.

Nick Spedding, New Business Manager at Cornerstone, said:

“This partnership is yet another example of our evolution towards neutral hosting and smart city solutions. We’re committed to bringing connectivity to urban and dense urban areas across the UK where currently connectivity is not in place or limited, enabling access to public networks is at everyone’s fingertips.”

The first project under this partnership, which is set to launch “within the next 10 weeks“, will be deployed across three cities (they don’t name any of them), “laying the foundation for future expansion and innovation in the field of smart city infrastructure.”

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