The introduction of 4G a decade ago saw wireless carriers boost their networks to increase capacity required to drive the service. The investment in the infrastructure for 4G meant US consumers had more coverage at competitive prices and the economy generated up to 700,000 jobs as a result.
This decade is about to see the next level of wireless services, 5G. Enabling sophisticated devices, applications and business models, 5G is set to be of equal stead as 4G was at the time only 5G comes with far more potential to stimulate the economy’s productivity.
However, there is one significant barrier to realising this potential that will slow the economic growth and that is the lack of fiber infrastructure that delivers unparalleled bandwidth closer to the customer.
Development of fiber infrastructure has been slow in part due to legacy operating models which result in an average of 5-6 times more OPEX than CAPEX being spent. The industry today is inefficient with multiple infrastructures competing alongside each other, where only one is required.
A Deloitte Consulting LLP analysis estimates that the US needs between $130 and $150 billion over the next 5-7 years to be able to support broadband competition, rural coverage and wireless cell site densification.
Deloitte Consulting LLP estimates it will cost $15-$20 billion to meet the required fiber densification. To gain efficiencies, an open access fiber network would be most favourable so carriers can share an infrastructure, which will also increase the competitive environment.
Improving broadband speeds to 70 million homes is needed to ensure competition between at least two providers that meet federal guidelines for broadband of 25mbps downlink and 3mbps uplink. Deloitte Consulting LLP estimates $60-$100 billion is required to ensure 75% of these homes receive FttH and the remaining 25% receive wireless 5G or other technologies that can cost effectively yield speeds faster than federal requirements.
So who are the key players to encourage investment in the industry? Carriers and policymakers are the most educated and therefore influential in this arena. Carriers could establish deep fiber as a top priority investment for the long term, redesign business models based on digital sales and care channels and provide a limited set of standard IP products to substitute legacy TDM products.
Likewise, policymakers could remove regulatory barriers that prevent a single IP network, inhibit deployment of additional fiber assets or restrict the types of services that may be offered. Avoiding limiting carrier innovation in new monetization mechanisms or promoting voluntary sharing of deep fiber and associated communication infrastructure such as trenches, conduits etc.
Failure to encourage investment will be detrimental for the country and its economy. Lack of investment will likely result in no network to support 5G, lack of consumer choice and widening of the digital divide. How the US inspires network infrastructure investment will determine whether it continues to lead the world in even greater innovation, getting more people connected to faster networks, and bring them the content they need at prices they can afford.
In ecology, sustainability is the property of biological systems to remain diverse and productive indefinitely.
Cities have a heavy impact on the environment and for many years have made small steps in the pursuit of a greener city from electric cars to bicycle rental schemes and regulations to maintain green spaces.
Sustainability depicts durability and longevity, and is in 2017 the term being used to refer to the technological objectives of a city to develop into a smart city.
Cities across the globe are in the pursuit of ambitious plans that will mean significant commitment to secure a sustainable future. This sustainable future doesn’t only benefit the environment, but also businesses, residents, commuters and visitors to name a few.
This ambition has grown from the increased technology that has been born from superfast internet via wireless and wired connections that will enable real time data collection that can be transferred into meaningful information.
The phenomenon known as the internet of things is seeing public and private institutions envisioning a future where technology solutions run their city.
The race to become a smart city is fuelling innovation. However, to enable this, fiber connectivity is key to not only being capable of utilising 5G, but also the increasing integration of internet-enabled solutions and the supporting technological infrastructure this brings.
Fiber internet connectivity has become an integral infrastructure just like electrical or water infrastructure, something that everyone will use, therefore, fiber is also crucial to deal with the increased demand smart city applications would have on network usage, something non fiber based infrastructures could not cope with.
The innovative applications and services for smart cities is crucial to their success, however, these cannot be realised without various platforms to enable big data, large distributed systems, open data, internet of things and cloud computing in order to store, manage, and distribute data from sophisticated applications. There is no shortage of companies that are now able to provide these platforms to support smart cities, and because of this cities that have already launched smart city applications through the use of fiber are already reaping the benefits.
Los Angeles saved $8 million a year and has cut energy use by 60% thanks to a smart and adaptive street light system. The system works by using sensors on the lights, enabling them to know what bulbs have burned out. Soon they will also have the ability to brighten and dim the lights from a central location and gather environmental information on the area.
Waste management is another key area of concern for cities. Cities around the world are purchasing garbage bins with Wi-Fi capability and in some cases solar powered trash compactors improving efficiency and helping to make overflowing waste a thing of the past.
Energy usage is also high on a city’s agenda, a welcomed topic for businesses and residents. Seattle is working with the government to upgrade the city’s electric meters so that users get more accurate readings from their electricity consumption and have the ability to manage their own energy conservation meaning reduction in energy usage and costs for home and business owners.
These are just some of the initiatives local governments across the world can learn from in bringing sustainability to their city. There is no definitive list of applications that can be enabled in a city, the possibilities are endless, something developers are proving through not only sustainability projects but also projects that deliver efficiency in every aspect of people’s everyday life.