Judges struggled to choose between a myriad of entries across ten diverse categories, but for each there could only be one winner!

2020 has been nothing if not different. With the pandemic forcing the telecoms sector into the limelight more than ever before, innovation in connectivity has exploded. At the Connected Britain Awards 2020, we sought to reward those who had come above and beyond, creating fascinating and practical solutions to connectivity challenges around the country. 

Each category received a wealth of entries and, as our lengthy shortlists demonstrate, choosing a winner from each of them was no easy task for our panel of expert judges. In some cases, judges were so hard pressed to choose that they opted to specially commend some of the applicants, acknowledging the incredible effort that had been put into creating impactful solutions for the modern world. 
But, after much discussion, the votes were finally cast, and a single winner emerged for each award. We are incredibly proud to present to you the highly deserving winners of this year’s Connected Britain Awards.
The fully awards ceremony is available to watch on the Connected Britain platform.
The 5G Initiative Award – Cisco 5G RuralFirst project

In this category, the judges were looking for 5G initiatives that featured ground-breaking deployments and offered real, tangible benefits to end-users. Cisco’s 5G RuralFirst project, with more than 20 use cases exploring everything from LiFi to connected windfarms, really demonstrated the benefits that 5G can holad for the country’s rural communities, proving how important it is that we extend connectivity beyond our cities.
The Barrier Removal Award – Newcastle City Council
Here, the judges sought an entry that presented a strong strategic approach to removing connectivity barriers and Newcastle City Council have been shown to fit that mould time and time again. Acknowledging that there was still more to do to make their city the most attractive place to deploy connectivity, they have championed a coordinated response to enhancing connectivity, building a proactive digital culture within the Council that will surely bear fruit for years to come.
The Commercial Connectivity Project of the Year – Pangea Connected 
A much shorter shortlist here, but a thoroughly hard-fought category looking for innovation in the commercial environment. Pangea Connected’s hugely successful rollout of their Multi-net SIM solution across a commercial airline took reliable, intelligent connectivity to the sky, incorporating seamless roaming between numerous networks. We expect to see airline-related solutions from Pandea in future.

The Community Improvement Award – St. Mungo’s
Described as a “useful initiative from deserving charity” by one of the judges, St. Mungo’s wide-ranging offerings to improve digital inclusion make them a worthy winner of this year’s award. This is an organisation who works with some of the most at-risk people in the UK, helping them to improve their digital skills and engage with the online world. From something as simple as helping train someone to apply for a job online to expanding their understanding of social media, St. Mungo’s is using digital skills to create a better community for all.
The Consumer Connectivity Project of the Year – Hyperoptic
Special commendation: Glide 
Another very exciting category here, with eight excellent entries making the shortlist. But his year’s Award goes to Hyperoptic, who not only offers customers access to the fastest broadband available in the UK, but also does so at a competitive price with flexible packages. The company also boasts excellent customer satisfaction, making it a worthy winner.
Digital Council of the Year – Norfolk County Council
Norfolk County Council has made huge progress towards its ambition of becoming the best-connected rural county in the UK. Having to overcome the considerable challenge of its rural geography, the Council has managed to improve digital learning in schools, build the UK’s largest LoRaWAN network, and is engaging fully with government to take advantage of the Local Full-Fibre Network programme; all of which will have a long-lasting effect on the county’s digital future. 
Digital Skills Award, sponsored by Capita – Dorset Council’s Developing Digital Skills & Awareness Project
“Capita chose to sponsor this award because we are firm believers in both the power and potential of technology to deliver better outcomes and the importance of skills to leverage this technology to bring innovation, creativity and expertise to all the challenges we collectively face,” explained Ismail Amla, Chief Growth Officer at Capita, as he presented the award. 
Another hard-fought category, Dorset Council took the award here for their excellent ongoing work at developing the digital skills of citizens within their County. With an advanced approach to digital inclusion, including a podcast, working with job centres, and creating Digital Champions, Dorset Council is helping to build digital skills for everyone within the organisation and local communities.
Smart City Initiative – Newcastle City Council and Urban Foresight
Special commendation: Grayparrot
Newcastle City Council have once again proven the extent of their digital focus, working closely with smart city consultancy Urban Foresight to really make towards turning Newcastle into a truly smart city. Helping to bring together stakeholders from the telecoms sector, academia, SMEs, the Council’s progress includes smart bins, installing a LoRaWan network for the IoT, and using air quality data collected by school children to present a better picture of modal shift by parents on the school run.
SME Service Provider of the Year – Glide
Providing ultrafast broadband to almost 1,200 businesses in the last year and continuing to serve some of the country’s most difficult-to-reach SMEs, Glide was the clear forerunner in this category, helping to keep businesses competitive from wherever they are situated. With the pressures of the pandemic present for all of us, this business connectivity is now more important than ever.
The IoT Award – Pangea Connected
Special commendation: FloodFlash
Offering a cellular USSD solution, Pangea Connected’s entry in this category offered global, cost-effective, versatile connectivity for the world’s first smart container fleet. As a high-risk industry where failure has huge knock-on effects for other industries all over the world, this solution offers a way to monitor and offer analytics related to cargo as it travels all over the world. 
See you next year!
A huge congratulations for all of our winners at this year’s Connected Britain Awards. All the entries were incredible examples of companies and organisations going beyond the call of duty in using connectivity to improve the lives of their customers and communities. We look forward to seeing what exciting solutions are presented next year.
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