30 November 2016
Connectivity Summit and debate on the challenges of 5G. It is not possible to move forward in the digital transition in Europe… without deploying infrastructure 5G.
What are the most important things when it comes to the Gigabit society development?
There are clear and obvious links between the Gigabit society development, 5 G infrastructure investments and accessibility to the Internet (VHC networks) and – the Economy 4.0 growth (which means not only the Industry 4.0, but also all kinds of the services 4.0).
The technology is developing very fast and gives us many new opportunities for better business, better life, and better conditions for the development. While the technology is a key driver for the future development – we need to ensure the well-designed preconditions for the economic development and Gigabit society building.
The impact is clear – digital game changer – present for example – in four industry sectors: automotive, healthcare, transport and utilities could bring about EUR 113 billion per annum to the EU economy ( in addition – it can create 2 millions new jobs). It is the result of the new forms of production and services, it improves the customers’ satisfaction, it is related to the cost-effective business models, and it creates better and pro environmental solutions. So, the purpose is clear.
The Internet of Things (5G networks can serve up to one million connected devices per square kilometre, about a one thousand fold increase as compared to today), Industry 4.0, Big Data analysis – necessary for better personalization of the healthcare services, virtual reality used in the new generation of video games, new forms of accessability of the cultural digital content and heritage, improvement of the education by the Digital Schools network establishment – all those: require the new connectivity.
5G connectivity, Gigabit connectivity. This model of connectivity (VHC networks – Very High Capacity networks) establishes the inclusive broadband. This inclusiveness is basic for the Gigabit society development.
There is no possibility to go forward in the digital transformation in Europe without the 5 G infrastructure deployment all over the Europe.
But how to implement it?
We need the new priorities and new objectives based on the Digital Agenda for Europe, but strongly developed, reshaped and adjusted to the new challenges. We need the new framework not only for the telecommunications area, but for – all electronic communications in Europe.
There are some conditions to draw new priorities and finally – to have connectivity for the future:
- the new regulatory framework: we need simplification of many rules and principles, we need the Electronic Communications Code as a new guidance for European development at that area.
The market drivers should work, regulators should intervene in specific cases, it is important to consider the check and balance rules as an ex post, then – use it – in the ex ante model. But the significance of the consumers’ rights should be ensured, also modernization of end-users switching rights.
The key is: find the proper balance between consumers expectations for right prices and business needs – to invest!!! We need to stimulate market drivers, and the regulatory framework is for creation the well-designed environment for market drivers work – all over the Europe.
So, it is key to have fully harmonized solution – if it would be possible to have the regulation, not only the directive with all threats related to misharmonized implementation at national levels.
The key message for the legislation is: to have “simplified, streamlined access regulation that is completely technology inclusive, more market based and focused only where there is lack of effective infrastructure competition in the market”, “a forward-looking”spectrum policy to cover accelerated demand”, ” a approach to competition policy with more emphasis on dynamic efficiencies” – as it was described in the BCG report.
- the clear frame for investment development (predictable, with adequate returns, based on certainty, aimed at long term solutions and 25 years period of licenses). We need to balance requirements between the competition principles, orientation on users, and incentives for investments.
So, we need infrastructure-based competition, we need to have conditions for the access to civil infrastructure. We need clear conditions for co-investment solutions. Finally – we need effective-access based competition.
The legal framework for investments should be future-proof.
On the other hand – it is clear that for building the 5G infrastructure we need to have the composition of various possible technologies: mobile development, fibre solutions, in some areas the small cells, also be open for the network sharing.
Only – under those conditions the broadband will be inclusive.
We need to involve and mix: private and public financial sources. At the European level: The Broadband Fund (based on CEF and EFSI) is needed, the funds for the post 2020 investments are necessary (dedicated structural funds), the redefinition of the State Aid model is required.
- the avoidance of the fragmentation: There are many dimensions of the fragmentation – related to the territorial differences ( urban-rural), related to the vulnerability of some social groups ( the right to the affordable connectivity contract should exist), related to the level of the advancement of the implementation of the European Law at that area.
We see – the fragmentation of the implementation of radio spectrum policy, the lack of the common assignments. For the future it is one of the most important thing – to create mechanisms for assignments.
The work on 700 MHz, the work on spectrum between 1GHz and 6 GHz (it is already available – 3.5 GHz band), the common decisions on spectrum above 6 GHz made together with WRC19 – are milestones.
We see – a little different objectives among Member States in National Broadband Plans and the different level of the advancement. We see – the different coverage of accessability of 30 Mbps – 71% homes across the EU. Around 50% of EU homes were covered by networks capable of providing downlink speeds at 100 Mbps. But only 11% of all homes have the subscriptions at 100Mbps+.
The existed, huge differentiation between urban and rural areas requires the different business models and the need to pay attention to this problem.
The objectives of the Economy 4.0 can be realistic only under the key condition – as equal, common, high-qualified acces to the 5G Internet infrastructure in uninterrupted way. Those principles should be implemented in new versions of National Broadband Plans.
- the new institutional harmonization as: radio spectrum harmonized decisions are necessary, starting from the 700 MHz decisions and implementation in all MS to 2020. We have no time for further delays. The timely assignment is needed.
The role of BEREC should be redefined. The gold balance between the EU needs and the Member States expectations and possibilities should be found. What is the most important – harmonization of actions, which means to make the same steps at the same time in all Member States and in all sectors of the business and public administration.
- the initiatives to support the demand increase, as: Wi Fi accessability in all public areas, 5G connectivity to be available as a fully-fledged commercial service in at least one major city in each Member State, the hubs and places for special development of: education – with Digital Schools network, innovation based on research centers and with strong cooperation of universities and business in the frame of open innovation, various public services, digitally intensive enterprises ( only 1.7% of EU enterprises are fully used digital tools, but 40% are used any digital tools), especially – SMEs and Start Ups growth, transport paths, smart cities.
Those places could be – some kind of the digital launch pads – supported by local and regional authorities. As it is in the EC Communication – they will require the 1Gbps.
- the cooperation among all stakeholders – it is the background for stronger coordination of many actions and measures, which will give finally – the common access to the 5G infrastructure. But – the full involvement of all decision makers and business shakers is needed at all levels.
The initiative – to establish the Participatory Broadband Platform (Commission and Committee of the Regions) can ensure a high level of engagement of public and private entities, also local and regional authorities, different kind of operators – small and local, big and pan-European.
In addition – the creation of EU network of Broadband Competence Offices at regional/ national level will be very useful. There are the most promising tools presented in the EC Communication for making the 5G development happen.
- the proper road map – which requires good timetable, well designed expectations, the list of needed decisions and frameworks, the analysis of possible advantages, the targeted actions.
We need to start the work and go in this direction – to the 5G solution, but we should know that it will take time: Gigabit connectivity (1 Gbps) for all main socioeconomic drivers will be achieved in 2025.
But there are 8 actions described in the “5G for Europe: An Action Plan” which draw the references points for the Plan. Key decisions and starting works should be done to the end of 2016, during 2017 and in 2018 (early network introduction, when the initial functioning of 5G could be real. The commercial goals are oriented at 2020, relative results are achievable in 2025.
- the adequate knowledge on: how the specific speed and the specific latency could be useful for many new services. Some of the new applications: as autonomous driving will require latency close to 1 ms and speed over 10 Mbps due to the EU sources, but Augmented and Virtual Realities will require the latency level close to 1 ms, but speed over 1 Gbps.
It is crucial to know: what conditions will be needed for different types of communications: person to person, person to machine, machine to machine or – in the case of the single use of an application or service, or in the situation of multiple uses (watching TV and using social network at the same time), or in the case of single connection for simultaneous use by many users – as: in the library, at home for family use, and at school.
The architecture of those connections and the architecture of habits of using of the Internet – will be the basis for technology solutions.
We need to find the best options for users’ satisfaction and the increase of the demand – which is important for the sustainable business models.
- the list of advantages: could we imagine the world of Giga connectivity with services and offers addressed to the Gigabit society?
Interconnected industries using the IoT solutions, education systems and open access to the Massive Open Online Courses from everywhere, healthcare area shift paradigm: from reactions on deseases to the preventive ones, new models of entertainment: virtual video games, new model of the participation in the culture, new forms of reading books and watching TV and movies, new administrative services, more convenient for citizens, the new models of citizens’ participation in the democracy etc. etc.
And probably – the new concept and the new model of the economy. Gigabit society will meet with the sharing economy, peer to peer solutions….
- the practical issue: from tipping to the turning point – how to make those solutions happen ? How to use the demand power and vehicle for 5 G infrastructure development?
So, let’s start the common work on Gigabit Society implementation, on 5G action plan, and for the Electronic Communications Code desired shape, adjusted to the future.
There is no possibility to make the digital transformation in Europe, oriented on IoT, new healthcare solutions, self-driving cars implementation, Industry 4.0 development, video games and movies development, based on Virtual Reality etc. etc. – without the proper infrastructure: 5G – the very high capacity networks.
There is no possibility to build this infrastructure without the proper roadmap:
- 700 MHz implementation in the proper time and with harmonized decisions, which is crucial for low latencies,
- Preparation to use the proper spectrum for very high qualified speed starting from 1 GHz to the 6 GHz – important for improvement of the networks, especially in the transition period,
- Preparation and implementation of the solutions related to the over 6 GHz opportunities, which require the common EU work with ITU.
There is no possibility to achieve starting objectives and mid-terms goals and proper advanced stages of 5 G development – key for the roadmap – without cooperation of all stakeholders, especially – coordinated decisions ( the same rules implemented at the same time) made by the Member States and their efforts to have the new National Broadband Plans, participation of the local and regional authorities – for avoiding the gap between urban and rural areas, and – without business involvement.
There is no possibility to move from the starting point to the turning point with the 5 G infrastructure – without better environment for the investments at this area: using public money at the European level – new funds are needed, possibilities to mix public and private money, background for co-investments.
There is no possibility to have the boost at the Internet investments without better, simplified, future proof, aimed at the long term perspective (25 years period licenses) – regulatory framework. The principle should be: to balance investment and competition rules. Practically, we need investment based competition model as a key reference point.
So, it is clear – what we want to be done. The question – what for – we want to make it – is also clear: for better services for the end consumers.