Wireless technologies have become a fundamental part of everyday life in the 21st century – they allow us to connect to each other in unprecedented ways, to use our time efficiently and generally improve our lives in countless ways.
To work, wireless devices must be able to connect to cell sites with reliable coverage both indoors and outdoors. Doing so increasingly requires placing sites near densely populated urban areas – and in doing so, creating new challenges for both the wireless industry and local governments.
The prospect of next-generation cellular technologies – notably 5G – will enable greater functionality, but their complexity has led to increased burdens on municipalities and government agencies.
Going forward, as demand for 5G capabilities continues to grow, it is essential that key stakeholders in the cellular ecosystem work together to streamline authorization and licensing negotiations and ultimately account, planning and activating the deployment.
Potential of 5G for the benefit of citizens
However, wireless communication can be called the “fifth utility”, and unfortunately the pandemic has exposed the digital divide in more ways than one. For example, according to the Lokniti-CSDS According to a study, in India, only 16% of households had access to a computer or laptop, while only 10% had an internet connection at home. This digital divide has risked the exclusion of thousands of Indians from the cloud-based vaccine portal which requires internet access. In addition to this, the urban-rural divide is also a huge talking point when it comes to understanding the digital divide.
So, when we talk about the implementation of next-generation wireless communications networks, it is of the utmost importance that technologists, operators, decision makers, etc. remain aware that these telecommunications solutions must be deployed equitably.
This has the potential to improve the lives of Indians lacking reliable wireless communication capabilities at a fundamental level – it will enable them to better participate in an increasingly global economy, keep pace with innovation and change in education and finally to connect with their friends and family. .
How to bridge the digital divide?
Gone are the days of old when local government officials focused primarily on zoning and planning as it relates to telecommunications deployment. Having firmly entered the 4G era – and with an eye on future networks – local governments are now more involved than ever in the deployment, which is now mainly happening in the public domain – on light poles and utilities – as opposed to private ownership, which is where deployment has historically occurred.
This change had several notable impacts:
- The number of requests for localized telecommunications solutions has increased significantly. This trend is expected to continue to grow as our use of wireless communications has grown exponentially over the past few years – and certainly during the pandemic.
- Public works are now the primary drivers of telecommunications deployment, as opposed to planning, zoning or real estate entities. This has fundamentally changed the dynamics of network deployment, as cities are now responsible for something that is, by and large, relatively new – cities tend to be efficient at managing parks, sidewalks, streetlights, waste management and all the things we usually associate with local. government, but local governments are relatively inexperienced with wireless installations in public rights-of-way.
Local governments are not only responsible for working with the wireless industry seeking to deploy future networks – they are also required to approve and authorize upgrades to existing 3G and 4G networks, which poses challenges. additional challenges. And, of course, in addition, the challenges associated with funding staff time to manage these programs will always exist.
Civil servants at the local level will take on additional responsibility for network deployment in the future – so it is important that decision-makers understand the language, so to speak, of telecommunications.