Sunday, 01 November 2020

Connecting Britain by 2025? Aligning stakeholders is imperative

by Harry Baldock, Total Telecom
Wednesday 23 September 20

Harnessing the benefits of digitalisation is a must for the UK, but the only way this can truly be achieved is if everyone is working towards the same goal

At this year’s Connected Britain, ADTRAN’s CTO of the EMEA and APAC regions, Ronan Kelly, spoke about what he called solving the ‘gigabit conundrum’ in the UK. For Kelly, significant process in delivering gigabit connectivity across the country will rely heavily upon on three key factors: government drive, consumer appetite, and the capability of available technology.   2025 is a crucial deadline for the UK government when it comes to connectivity. It is the date at which the UK government wants to have everyone &lsquo…

At this year’s Connected Britain, ADTRAN’s CTO of the EMEA and APAC regions, Ronan Kelly, spoke about what he called solving the ‘gigabit conundrum’ in the UK. For Kelly, significant process in delivering gigabit connectivity across the country will rely heavily upon on three key factors: government drive, consumer appetite, and the capability of available technology.

 

2025 is a crucial deadline for the UK government when it comes to connectivity. It is the date at which the UK government wants to have everyone ‘partaking in the gigabit society’, as Kelly puts it.

 

Of course, the advent of the coronavirus pandemic has disrupted many of these plans, but it has also brought forth rapid digitalisation, presenting the UK with an excellent opportunity. The 2025 targets are still achievable, but they will require close collaboration.

 

“We need the government to really take advantage of the situation with regards to COVID-19, and rethink how it engages with citizens throughout the country, so that we don’t go back to this [disconnected] scenario once movement restrictions are lifted,” explained Kelly. “A much more digitised government must emerge.”

 

This process of digitalisation is one filled with growing pains, for the government and indeed anyone, so stakeholders must be careful to strike the right balance in this process. Working from home, for example, will work excellently for some, while others will be chomping at the bit to return to the office. One size certainly does not fit all when it comes to digitalisation.

 

“We’ve got to think about what we’ve gained during this period of lockdown and what the digital infrastructure has allowed us to do, versus what we left behind when we were first forced to work from home,” said Kelly.

 

That said, we must also make sure we are prepared for the worst-case scenario of another lockdown – a point which feels very close to home given the current COVID-19 situation in the UK.


“It’s very important that we have the digital infrastructure that allows us to retreat back to the sanctuary of our homes and continue to be productive,” noted Kelly.

 

In terms of appetite for gigabit services, consumer demand has increased massively due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Naturally, working from home has seen a major increase in connected devices at home throughout Europe, as well as a boom in various video streaming services – including Disney+, Prime Video, and Netflix – and video collaboration services like Zoom. Meanwhile, gaming and high quality video is becoming ever more prevalent, serving to soak up bandwidth at an incredible rate, with virtual reality pegged to soon grow into a key driver as well.

“Underpinning all of this is robust broadband connectivity,” said Kelly.

 

Supporting this soaring consumer appetite is no easy task, but, as Kelly points out, the technology is there. ADTRAN themselves already offer a range of solutions to deliver gigabit connectivity, whether through solutions for fibre, fixed wireless access, Wi-Fi, and more.

 

“The key point is, from a technological standpoint, we have the capability to really deliver gigabit connectivity to all citizens by 2025,” said Kelly.

 

So, we have the technology and we have the demand now it remains for the government to step up and support the process of digitalisation if the UK is to solve its ‘gigabit conundrum’.

 


Connected Britain is happening right now! Use #ConnectedBritain to keep up with the action
It's not too late to register for Day 2! Register your interest here

Also in the news:
Ericsson reiterates 5G's impact on the digital divide in the UK at this year’s Connected Britain
Is COVID-19 the tipping point in the smart city revolution?
Today's headlines from The 5G Daily

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