5G: The Rundown for Broadband Providers

By now, you are most likely used to seeing “4G” in the top corner of your smartphone’s screen. 4G, the fourth generation of mobile internet technology, changed the way we use our phones forever. The apps that have been created for 4G are smart and incredible; we never could have imagined the capabilities they have. However, 4G has been around for several years now, and it is nearly time for something newer, stronger, and faster.

5G is a next generation mobile internet technology that promises to deliver faster download speeds, better connections, and wider coverage. 5G offers three major upgrades to its predecessor, 4G: minimal delay (low latency), long battery life, and high speeds. 4G downloads can reach 50 megabits per second, while 5G is able to operate at speeds that are 100 times faster (some sources say 1,000 times faster). No one knows what new companies and services 5G will inspire, just as no one could predict the amazing applications of 4G, such as Lyft and Snapchat.

The Race to 5G

The first 5G-ready smartphones won’t arrive until next year. This year’s efforts will be a mix of portable hotspots and fixed wireless—that is, using cellular networks to offer an alternative to wires for home broadband. The four major US carriers all plan to offer 5G mobile service in the first half of 2019, but they’re all taking a different approach.

AT&T is offering 5G-powered mobile hotspots in a dozen cities this year. Verizon plans 5G services in at least 5 cities this year (not for mobile phones, but for fixed wireless). Sprint is working on rolling out smartphone service in 9 US cities, and they are hoping to take advantage of some unique airwaves they own. Finally, T-Mobile plans to offer 5G smartphone service next year to customers in four major cities. By 2021, T-Mobile plans to provide speeds in excess of 100Mbit/s to two-thirds of the US population.

All of these companies are racing against each other as well as racing against other countries. Right now, there is a three-way game among the United States, China, and South Korea to get 5G networks up and running first. It seems that the U.S. will be first with 5G in a few places, but China will be first to bring 5G to everybody. The U.K. should certainly not be ignored either; Vodafone recently conducted a live holographic call using 5G. In addition to trying to be first, there is a fight over who will provide the technology to power the networks. The U.S. has security concerns about China and will not allow Huawei to provide gear to major US telecom firms.

Timeline

Gartner, Inc. developed a tool called the Hype Cycle to help understand how particular technologies are regarded in terms of the reality of expectations as compared to how the technology is used over time. The hype cycle consists of five phases: the technology trigger, the peak of inflated expectations, the trough of disillusionment, the slope of enlightenment, and the plateau of productivity. 5G, according to Qualcomm Director of Product Marketing Sherif Hanna, is slightly past peak hype and we are on the way to the trough of disillusionment.

Hanna explained that there is some backlash due to the extreme hype around 5G. Some people are almost having an allergic reaction to it, saying 5G is all hype and no substance whatsoever. Hanna disagrees, but the critics make a valid point. 5G has not been substantiated yet, but everyone—including the government—is already so invested. The real question here is this: what is the timeline for 5G between where we are and the slope of enlightenment?

Although the four major carriers plan to offer 5G mobile service in the first half of next year, it will be a long time before 5G coverage is ubiquitous. By mid-2019, Sprint is promising always-connected 5G PCs on its network. By 2020-21, 5G will be delivering Internet of Things upgrades, supporting connected cars and other IoT devices. Deployment on cell towers has already begun. Deployment in urban areas is in the works. Application adoption will come last, most likely in a few years. While 5G will be impressive, it is far away from being available to consumers and we should keep that in perspective.

5G and Broadband Providers

According to analysts for Light Reading, 5G is soon to become the “largest existential threat” to broadband providers. Speedy fixed 5G services are going to take money from cable broadband. For example, T-Mobile plans to capture 10 million broadband subs by 2024, largely targeting cable’s footprint. Cable companies have historically refrained from competing against each other, so many US cities have just one provider. Comcast and Charter together provide broadband service to 68 million Americans. 5G will threaten their market share.

5G and IoT

4G helped launch the app revolution, and 5G will carry the torch. It will not only enrich experiences for existing applications but also enable new Internet of Things (IoT) use cases. 5G will mean faster data on phones but will also pave the way for billions of connected IoT devices. Applications built on underlying technologies such as augmented reality, VR, and AI will benefit from massive data pipes and ultra-low latency.

It is important to note that there are security concerns with the plethora of IoT devices that will run on 5G. There are already existing security concerns with current IoT devices because their creators favor low prices over strong security, making them easy picking for hackers. Today people secure these devices by buying additional products to monitor home-network traffic, but with 5G, many more devices will bypass that network and connect directly to the Internet. The issue isn’t one hacked IoT device, but the millions of controllable hijacked devices.

In many ways, 5G will make life easier and more convenient. One major benefit of 5G networks will be the use of delivery drones, or Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs). People will be able to place their online orders from their mobile devices, pay less for shipping, and acquire their goods quickly, securely, and for a low cost. Drones already exist, but 5G will help coordinate large fleets of them, allowing them to fly safely and automatically avoid collisions with high buildings and other UAVs.

If you’re picturing the drones flying through a city, you are correct. There will still be limited access to rural areas due to limited 5G offerings. Many people are claiming that 5G will help close the Digital Divide in America. However, rural areas that currently have subpar broadband will most likely continue down that path. It simply costs too much in the eyes of the companies pushing 5G to build out all of this fiber infrastructure needed for 5G in rural America. Today approximately 24% of rural Americans are on the wrong side of the digital divide, and it will likely be a very long time before this is remedied.

5G’s First Adopters

5G’s first adopters will undoubtedly be heavy industries and not consumer brands. They will use 5G for its Internet of Things applications. Oil fields, for example, plan to use the technology to boost their collection of data from sensors. Industrial automation will benefit the most, at least in the beginning. Consumer applications, which will come later, will drive the majority of the bandwidth with video and gaming.

Mobile browsing is great these days, but surfing the web without a Wi-Fi connection leaves much to be desired. For example, it’s really hard to play Fortnite Mobile using a data plan. FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr explained how 5G will essentially eliminate the need to be connected to Wi-Fi. This shift has massive ramifications for information accessibility, telecoms, telehealth, and, of course, mobile gaming. Carr went on to say, “They should be branding it as 5G, The Fortnite Network.” Certain Fortnite updates have been over 1GB and could take hours to download on 4G. At 10 Gbps, these updates could be downloaded in a minute and a half. 5G gives users the speed of wired, fiber-optic internet connections, minus the cords.

Gaming may not be your thing, but some form of streaming video probably is. Netflix streaming will be like never before, and you will have access to extremely high quality video conferencing. Surgeons could even operate remotely over the internet. 5G will make all of our devices smarter, but can it make our cities smarter too?

 Experts say that 5G networks will jumpstart the smart cities movement, which is aimed at making cities more sustainable and efficient. The vision for 5G is to enable cities to combine data and devices to reduce traffic, energy, improve communications, protect neighborhoods, and save time and money.

However, “5G and smart cities can only become a reality for all Americans if there is enough fiber infrastructure to support them,” wrote Lisa Youngers, CEO of the Fiber Broadband Association. This is true. In order to get the 5G, your devices still have to connect to a wired network; when they connect to the cell tower, the tower is connected to a landline network. The little antenna might be broadcasting, but when the signal comes back there’s a wire behind it.

5G is not comprised of a standalone new technology. Its disruptive nature comes from its ability to aggregate the power of new and existing networks, mobile, fixed, and wireless to create flexibility. Nearly all of the communication through 5G will still travel fiber in the ground or underwater. Only the very last part of the connection—from the handset to the tower—will be wireless. 4G and 5G cannot exist without the fiber that empowers them. Are you building services to support the towers that support 5G? You must in order to meet the demand of underlying connectivity for 5G. Ronin can help you plan, build, and run these services. Give us a call today at (303)-678-1844 or email us at hello@roninpbr.com.

 

Broadband is a Necessity for EconDev

A robust broadband infrastructure is a compelling differentiator for economic development teams. Today’s business applications require high-speed connectivity including Internet access and services supported by a fiber network.

Communities with good broadband infrastructure can support traditional office workers as well as digital workers. Digital workers are employees that work from home and require services like high-speed internet access and unified communications to carry out their jobs. You want these digital workers in your community for economic development; 75% of employees who work from home earn over $65,000 a year, meaning they make more and spend more than the average office worker.

Fast wi-fi allows for telehealth, or meeting with a doctor remotely from your home, as well as improves education due to distance learning. Distance learning allows students to take classes all over the world and go on virtual field trips. Much of the homework students receive today requires an internet connection as well.

So compelling is the web as a business resource that modern commerce simply cannot function without it. Not only will companies find themselves at a competitive disadvantage without broadband, but communities that fail to invest in their digital infrastructure may discover that their economic development initiatives are destined for a similar fate.

Are you looking to develop a plan for creating broadband infrastructure in your community? Give us a call at 303.678.1844 or email hello@roninpbr.com.

So Your Community Wants Broadband. What’s Next?

A project team in a community needs to develop a strategic plan for broadband as they would any other critical utility. Without a defined plan, the community’s connectivity will be driven by the incumbents and how they perceive the network should grow. A community focused plan should be based on the service requirements for residential, commercial, and Community Anchor Institutions (CAIs).

Instead of focusing on something like healthcare delivery first and then other goals over time, communities should take into account multiple goals because the service set is the same. If you look at City/County government, K-12 schools, higher ed (branch locations) and healthcare they all have a need to connect their locations for data exchange.  The same fiber network or broadband infrastructure can support a standard service to connect these different organizations. By taking into account the connectivity demands of these CAI’s, a community can develop a business plan that delivers a faster ROI.

In the current political climate, it’s difficult to determine what public funds will be available, but there are always private investment dollars. This is where the strategic broadband plan comes into place. If a community can outline the long-term broadband goals and capabilities the community needs, then they are in a much better position for 3P arrangements, as well as getting incumbent providers to upgrade their existing services.   

If you need help developing a broadband plan or public private partnership (3P), give us a call today! 303.678.1844

The MDU market is a $8.3B opportunity. Is your service offering ready?

Multiple-Dwelling Units (MDUs) such as apartment buildings and condos can help you add thousands of customers. They present the perfect opportunity for providers because MDU inhabitants make up over 18% of potential subscribers. 80% of MDU residents rate fast broadband internet as being more important than in-unit washers and dryers, and their habits are largely digital.

Cord cutting, disconnecting from cable/satellite to pursue solely streaming options, is growing at an exponential rate. As of 2016, half of US consumers subscribe to a paid streaming video service, and 1 in 7 Americans is a cord cutter. With over 130 available streaming services, streaming video must be part of your service set.

Working from home or telecommuting is on the rise as well. As of June 2017, 3.7 million employees (2.8% of the workforce) now work from home at least half the time. Additionally, regular work-at-home among the non self-employed population has grown by 115% since 2005, nearly 10x faster than the rest of the workforce.

You need a connectivity service that is geared towards this cord cutting, working from home market. The service set should include UCaaS and high speed internet. Furthermore, you should be looking for value added services to layer onto the connection, such as desktop as a service, office 365, security, and storage.

Are you looking for help developing and launching services to go after this market? Give us a call 304.678.1844 or drop us a note hello@roninpbr.com 

Why Broadband Matters For Site Selection

When it comes to site selection, utility service is heavily scrutinized. Locations are routinely eliminated due to issues with lack of electricity, gas, water, etc. Now that technology has become so advanced, the Internet is extremely important to economic development and site selection. Broadband is now considered by many to be a utility.

Broadband service connects businesses and individuals to the global marketplace. It has become an essential quality-of-life amenity for many. Broadband allows for a more flexible lifestyle by providing greater access to education through distance learning programs or remote employment.

Corporate site selectors expect broadband as it is a critical piece of infrastructure for attracting new capital investment. Locations with inadequate connectivity are quickly passed over for projects requiring broadband. Merely having broadband likely places a location on a level playing field with other communities.

Speedmatters.org says that for each $5 billion in new broadband investment, 250,000 jobs are created. The statistics no longer suggest, but indisputably assert, that high-speed Internet has become a key economic development tool and private sector job creation vehicle.

So compelling is the web as a business resource that modern commerce simply cannot function without it. Not only will companies find themselves at a competitive disadvantage, but communities that fail to invest in their communications infrastructure may discover that their economic development initiatives are destined for a similar fate.

Want to talk about this further? Give us a call at 303.678.1844 or email hello@roninpbr.com

Broadband Keeps Citizens in a Community

Despite Britain leaving the European Union, financial firms are reluctant to move out of London thanks to their ultra-fast internet cables. A study by European Central Bank found that any withdrawal from London would likely be gradual as firms would be reluctant to give up on London’s fiber-optic cables, crucial for ultra-fast electronic trading.

The value of broadband is attracting and keeping businesses in your community. Having fast, reliable internet brings people to a community and allows them to prosper economically, which can only benefit the economic development of the region.

If you’re looking to build and develop the broadband services and infrastructure your community needs, give us a call 303.678.1844 or drop us an email hello@roninpbr.com

The Rundown On 5G

3G, 4G, and the new 5G refer to different generations of mobile networks. If you look at your phone screen right now, there’s a good chance it says “4G” on it. And that’s okay… for now. But in a few years, 4G will be antiquated and replaced by 5G.

5G is built to support the increase in connected devices and speed. It will be ideal for applications such as the Internet of Things (#IoT) and the billions of connected devices, HD Video, smart city applications, self-driving cars, VR headsets, and delivery drones.

Another impactful application for 5G is telemedicine. Faster connections, greater reliability, higher bandwidth and increased adoption will improve user experience, reach, and quality of care.

Some projections say 5G will be about 10 times faster than 4G. Others believe that within the next 5 to 10 years, 5G will offer speeds up to 40 times faster than 4G’s 5 – 12 Mbps. Regardless of which is correct, 5G will be providing a “wider pipeline and faster lanes.” For carriers in the US, the target for 5G is 2020. Ericsson projects that 5G will reach about 15% of the world’s population by 2022.

#5G will require $130-$150B to deploy. From cell towers, to small cells, long haul transport and dark fiber, the question to ask is “Is your network positioned to capitalize on this opportunity?”

If not, give us a call 303.678.1844 or drop us a note hello@roninpbr.com; we would welcome the chance to help you.

Additional Links:

– Business Insider Intelligence estimates that 22.5 billion IoT devices will be installed globally in 2021, up from around 16 billion in 2020

– Companies are projected to spend almost $5 trillion on the IoT in the next five years

– 5G is expected to grow at a CAGR of 70% through 2025

– VR device ownership will grow from 2.2 million in 2016 to 20 million in 2018

Good video from IEEE on 5G

What Broadband Means for Economic Development

A robust broadband infrastructure is a compelling differentiator for economic development teams. Today’s business applications require high-speed connectivity including Internet access and services supported by a fiber network. As communities compete for these companies to locate facilities in their area, broadband infrastructure is a key consideration in the process.

High-speed internet access allows a community to attract and retain a talented labor pool within the area. A recent national study by Pew Research Center late last year found that roughly 80% of people seeking a job within the US are using online job search resources. Additionally, the same study showed that businesses that rely and/or heavily utilize internet access have growth rates of 1.5X to 2X compared to those that do not.

Digital workers are employees that work from home for themselves or a company and require services like high speed internet access and unified communications to carry out their jobs. They have a desire to live in an area that meets their quality of life while maintaining employment for a company that is located somewhere else. Broadband infrastructure is the key component for attracting and retaining these workers and the companies that employ them.

  • On average, a Digital Worker is college-educated, 49 years old, and earns an annual salary of $58,000 while working for a company with more than 100 employees. 75% of employees who work from home earn over $65,000 per year, putting them in the upper 80th percentile of all employees, home or office-based
  • 50% of the US workforce holds a job that is compatible with at least partial telework and approximately 20-25% of the workforce teleworks at some frequency.

The Importance of Broadband to Site Selection

Are you offering the types of broadband services that attract new companies and digital workers and drive economic development? Give us a call today; we’d love to discuss how we can help you.

Brandon Groteguth (812)-890-6695, brandon@roninpbr.com

Joey Broadway (870)-919-7064, joey@roninpbr.com

Connecting Communities with Broadband Infrastructure

Recently we published an article in the Broadband Communities magazine about the 5 key areas through which broadband can positively impact economic development.

1.CONNECTING TO THE INFORMATION ECONOMY

– Broadband enables municipalities to begin thinking bigger

– Remote work becoming the norm. It gives a community access to attract a labor pool.

2. CONNECTING TO THE INTERNET OF THINGS

– Broadband offers the possibility to connect citizens to the town itself and to towns around it

– The IoT promises a better community by enabling city infrastructure to do more (self-reporting and status checking, intelligent conversation with related services, and transparency to the population)

– IoT is a chance to start over in a truly digital sense and enable powerful new sensor and communication systems, all powered by a robust digital backbone


3. CONNECTING TO THE ENGINE OF ELECTRONIC COMMERCE

– Broadband enables small business, and is also a key economic development driver for attracting new entrepreneurs to specified electronic commerce zones within the municipality

4. CONNECTING TO THE WORLD OF BIG DATA

– Datasets too large to analyze with conventional analytical tools are trending for Fortune 1000 CEOs, data scientists, and city managers alike

– A promise of IoT is the ability to populate and examine an ever-expanding body of collected data and look for emerging trends in municipal operations and citizen services

– Access to Big Data’s long-term benefits requires the kind of resilient, fast broadband infrastructure that makes the daily transfer of gigabytes of data a straightforward and unremarkable task

5. CONNECTING TO THE VISUAL EXPERIENCE ERA

Ubiquitous telepresence, or the “always-on visual experience,” places the heaviest demands on a city’s broadband infrastructure

– The closer we can bring distant entities together with video, the less relevant the real distance between them becomes

– Bringing the citizenry closer to outside opportunities and bringing outside services to the population

GETTING STARTED

We’d welcome the chance to discuss how you can develop the broadband infrastructure your community needs to enable economic development.

At Ronin, we use a five-step process to build a holistic service and infrastructure plan.

  1. Start with the end in mind. 
  2. Centralize & productize community KPIs.
  3. See the full landscape.
  4. Define value delivered to the citizen.
  5. Build the delivery ecosystem.Want to discuss more? Give us a call:

Brandon Groteguth (812)-890-6695, brandon@roninpbr.com

Joey Broadway (870)-919-7064, joey@roninpbr.com

 

Are Your EconDev Sites Digital Ready?

Digital transformation is a driving force among companies today. Companies need to leverage digital infrastructure and “connectivity” so they can enable new business models and compete in the new global economy. As companies evaluate sites for new locations, the digital infrastructure of the location will play a critical role in the decision on where to locate the business. Across the country, the digital factory initiatives that are generating incredible business outcomes all have a common denominator; they all have a digital-ready infrastructure.

What is digital-ready infrastructure? Simply put it’s infrastructure that can deliver the communications capabilities today’s businesses and factories require.

Digital-ready infrastructure has 3 key ingredients:

  • Fiber based networks which enable broadband services
  • Broadband services: internet access, unified communications, Ethernet transport
  • Connectivity to regional datacenters, which gives the business the ability to utilize cloud services of the corporation

Does your community have the digital-ready infrastructure to attract companies?

Have you been passed over because you don’t have this infrastructure or a plan to create it?

Do your economic development teams have the information they need to accurately depict the broadband capabilities of your community?

Regardless of where you are in the process, Ronin can help. Call us today and let us help lay out the plan for your digital transformation and help you attract the companies and jobs your community needs.