Monday, 26 October 2020

Reinventing our cities for the future with 5G and full fibre connectivity

By Martin Samuel, Public Sector Director, SSE Enterprise Telecoms
Friday 18 September 20

Cities have been slowly transforming in recent years, from connected sensors that alert the council when the bins need emptying to the rising popularity of dockless bike-share schemes – and there’s so much more to look forward during the next digital revolution, like driverless cars and VR-integrated infrastructure.  However, these new connected devices and overarching ‘smart city’ applications will put huge pressure and increasing demand on the networks that support them. City-wide reinventions and the innovations yet to come will be dependent on access to 5G…

Cities have been slowly transforming in recent years, from connected sensors that alert the council when the bins need emptying to the rising popularity of dockless bike-share schemes – and there’s so much more to look forward during the next digital revolution, like driverless cars and VR-integrated infrastructure. 

However, these new connected devices and overarching ‘smart city’ applications will put huge pressure and increasing demand on the networks that support them. City-wide reinventions and the innovations yet to come will be dependent on access to 5G, which needs to be underpinned by a network of full-fibre. Existing infrastructure like FTTC, ADSL and 4G networks will struggle to handle the increasing level of traffic, or provide the low-latency, high-speed connectivity required by the future smart city. So, what benefits can cities expect to see from investing in 5G and full-fibre connectivity?

Much ado about progress

Likely to be the first to fully migrate to 5G, built-up urban areas are predictably set to enjoy the benefits served up by the new network before more rural locations will be able to get involved. You can read more about this in our ‘Building Britain’s 5G future’ report.

The resulting explosion of new technology will play an essential role in the development of smart cities, but these exciting developments don’t come without a cost. Future smart city applications will generate a greater demand for density of fibre as a result – a requirement which demands serious investment in infrastructure.

Providers are going to have their work cut out for them, from erecting masts to installing and maintaining FTTP connections. Installing last mile telecommunications links may mean a reshuffling of physical public assets. Infrastructure items like street furniture, buildings and underground ducts will play a key role in facilitating both fixed and mobile networks. By taking these physical infrastructure assets into consideration, the connected smart cities of tomorrow will be able to take flight. 

 

Look local

There’s much to look forward to when cities are better equipped with smart technology (and the infrastructure to power it). Local governments will be able to use the data generated to make better-informed, evidence-based decisions on a wide range of issues and developments that affect the local area, from planning permission to traffic control. To help with this and bring the rich opportunities that great connectivity provides to as many people as possible, SSE Enterprise Telecoms is looking to build out ‘root and branch’ networks to aid both the heart of the city and surrounding regions. 

This won’t just help local government with decision-making. It’s generally accepted that better connectivity helps communities to thrive, so it’s no surprise that local governments are keen for these changes to be carried out. Government-funded initiatives are developed with the economic wellbeing of the city over the next 20-30 years in mind. Ensuring that everyone has fast, reliable and affordable broadband access by facilitating full-fibre rollout will stand these areas in good stead for decades to come. 

 

Help is at hand

Councils know what they want for their area, with many preparing to embrace the next generation of networks. However, getting an entire city ready for full-fibre connectivity is no walk in the park – and near impossible for councils to implement without third-party assistance. At SSE Enterprise Telecoms, we work with local authorities to help them turn their goals into reality – for example, in Aberdeenshire, we are currently building a state-of-the-art gigabit capable fibre network in conjunction with the Public Sector. This network will offer benefits to citizens, businesses and government users, as well as drive local economic growth. 

Preparing entire cities for the future doesn’t have to be difficult. When local governments pair up with third-party innovators, there’s very little to stop them from achieving their goals and ensuring fast, reliable connectivity is available to support the transformations of tomorrow. 

 

Discover how SSE Enterprise Telecoms’ is working to better connect cities by downloading our new Connected cities eBook.

Martin is speaking on Day 1 of Connected Britain's Smart Britain Track on the topic of Fibre, 5G and the reinvention of the city. Want to learn more? Register for your pass today.

 

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