BT has announced the launch of a multi-million pound NB-IoT network, aimed at supporting UK smart cities and industries.

The network, which is underpinned by EE, covers 97 percent of the UK population, according to the telco.

BT has launched its NB-IoT network – BT Group

Narrowband IoT (NB-IoT) is a low-power and long-range fixed wireless network, tipped to support industries including utilities, construction, and the public sector.

BT said its NB-IoT network will enable low-data-demand assets, such as street lighting or underground water sensors, to be connected over a smart network.

This could enable improved battery life and efficiency, and help reduce costs (by automatically detecting leaks in water infrastructure, for example).

The telco said that the network will help fast-track the emergence of smart cities, as it can optimize energy use, storage, and distribution.

"Growing numbers of businesses are beginning to realize the benefits of IoT applications, and our UK-wide NB-IoT network opens up a wide range of connectivity solutions for monitors, sensors, and other smart devices," said Chris Keone, managing director of BT's Division X, which helps the telco commercialize solutions involving emerging technologies.

"Whether it’s building the smart cities of the future or reducing carbon emissions, our network will provide customers with the reliability and efficiency they need.”