Getting down to 5G

Saturday 19th March 2016
Courtesy Google images 5G

UK government is to set out a strategy by 2017 that aims at the UK becoming one of the "world leaders” in '5G' mobile wireless communications. The strategy is to be informed by recommendations made by the National Infrastructure Commission before the end of 2016 so that the Commission delivers in 2017 the 5G strategy recommendations according to chancellor George Osborne's Budget statement.

BT and Virgin have been trialling the use of separate new technologies which could deliver broadband speeds up to five and 10 times faster than the government's 100 megabits per second target respectively. A number of smaller providers are also growing into the ultrafast market,  helped by agreeing to partnership deals with larger providers, such as Sky and TalkTalk, the report said. KCOM is also "rolling out ultrafast services".

The strategy will be informed by recommendations to be made by the National Infrastructure Commission before the end of 2016, the Budget Paper said The Commission will carry out "an assessment of how the UK can become a world leader in 5G deployment, and how it can take early advantage of the potential benefits of 5G services.”

"The government will establish a new broadband investment fund, in partnership with private sector investors, to support the growth of alternative broadband networks by providing greater access to finance.” The broadband investment fund was an idea first outlined  last year.

The internet notes that the Governments of China (left) and South Korea (right) are being particularly aggressive in pursuing 5G development efforts, Japan taking an approach akin to that of the USA by relying more upon private companies to invest in the next-generation technologies.

China and South Korea are reported have set up national research and development programs that rivals similar efforts being undertaken within the European Union where 47 organisations have signed up as  supporters and are aiming for commercial deployments in the 2020 time frame.

In China  MIIT (Ministry of Industry and Information Technology), NDRC (National Development and Reform Commission)  and MOST (Ministry of Science and Technology) set up an IMT-2020 (5G) Promotion Group in February 2013 to coordinate all 5G activities in Chinese industry and academia.  

South Korea has also set up a 5G Forum,  similar to the EU's 5G PPP (Public-Private Partnership) with South Korea's Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning announcing that it was committing $1.5 billion to its "5G Creative Mobile Strategy.

Even the USA experiences spotty-to-non-existent connections from the decade old 4G standard, making 5G a major topic at the Barcelona Mobile Congress. One of many goals for the proposed new standard is to improve the speed and reliability of wireless connections.  But moving to a major new network will require replacing or upgrade to all equipment  in network infrastructure,  as well as updating modems or device radio chips probably by replacing those devices too.

With IoT upon us, networks needs are more demanding than simply need from smartphones and  connected tablets.  The 5G network has to move from a best effort 100-millisecond response time, to a guaranteed 1-millisecond response time. 

The final details of 5G itself have not even been agreed to, or standardised yet, so the pundits reckon that it will be 2020 before we see the first “real” deployments of the new technology appear.

Chancellor Osborne has confirmed that the UK  will "deliver a 5G strategy in 2017" and it will be based on the National Infrastructure Commission's review. The chancellor’s  Budget paper wants to "ensure the benefits of digital technology are felt by all businesses and individuals" and outlined plans to support the development of new broadband networks.

The government will establish a new (right)  broadband investment fund, in partnership with private sector investors, to support the growth of alternative broadband networks by providing greater access to finance." 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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