This Technology Is About to Change the World–But No One Is Talking About It

Marc Emmer at Inc. Magazine

5G will drive artificial intelligence, Internet of Things, and change the world forever.

You’ve heard it all before. Augmented reality, virtual reality, AI, robots, blah, blah, blah.

5G is the ugly duckling of technology, yet it is the one that will radically change the world. According to the MIT Technology Review, 5G is a “technological paradigm shift, akin to the shift from the typewriter to the computer.”

Here are seven ways small and mid-market businesses will benefit.

1. 3D
One technology that has not broken through is holographic projection, the technology offered in head-mounted displays. While technologies such as Google Glass were a flop, they were introduced prematurely. The business implications for 3D are enormous.

In the near future, business meetings will be held in 3D, allowing for more meaningful modeling, use of CAD drawings, and more “lifelike” presentations. Imagine the use of holographs for purposes of proving an illustration of how a product could work, or in sales training. 3D will be a new world.

2. Enhanced Video
Companies will have access to higher resolution video with low latency. While this has implications for everything from video games to marketing, perhaps the most immediate impact will be in recruiting. Companies use video for recruiting, but in a clumsy fashion and usually only as a supplement for face-to-face interviews. Enhanced video will allow companies to expand the reach of whom they recruit and promote a faster process.

3. Opportunities for Telecommunication Companies
World War III has broken out in telecommunications, where Qualcomm has developed a modem that will deliver 5G. But the company is saddled by ongoing anti-trust issues with the EU, Apple and others. To date, the major cell phone carriers have not announced plans for 5G-enabled phones to be released in the near future.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the telecommunications industry employs over 760,000 workers, many of whom will take part in the rollout of 5G and related technologies. The greatest opportunities emerge when there is chaos in a market, and this market defines chaos.

4. Healthcare
Today’s implanted wireless devices are unreliable. MIT News says the use of Internet of Things (IoT) in healthcare-enabled devices will dramatically expand, allowing patients and care providers real-time data and more predictive care.

5. Smarter Homes and Cities
5G will be the spark to ignite IoT as home and business devices like security, lighting and audio will become more capable and cheaper to operate. Companies in this space will thrive.

Companies in 5G-enabled cities will have an advantage over those who do not. AT&T is rolling out 5G in phases, beginning with this year’s watered-down version expanding into 140 markets.

6. Connectivity for Customers
According to The International Journal of ICT Economy, Governance and Society, 5G will provide connectivity to 90 percent of the world’s population by 2027. Companies offering payment systems, healthcare and business services to the third world will have access to new markets and customers.

7. Autonomous Vehicles
Hype about autonomous vehicles has been muted by recent accidents that highlight their unreliability. For roadways to support millions of autonomous vehicles will require more reliable networks. 5G will allow autonomous vehicles to better detect hazards, communicate with other vehicles, interact with smart signage and follow more precise maps.

If you live in a rural community, this is all pie in the sky that you will never see unless you go to the big city an visit a family relative who can give you a demonstration. 5G is highly dependent on a robust and expensive infrastructure to bring the broadband signals to the antenna and return them to the server farms for some AI inferencing and data storage.

Rural communities do not have broadband access today because they lack the backbone infrastructure to bring the network into the community, and the reason is cost. The 5G infrastructure is more complex and more costly than the missing 4G infrastructure. So who is going to pay for the 5G infrastructure? The same people that did not bring you the 4G infrastructure because it cost too much. 5G companies are ROI driven; they are not in the charity business.

If you are a rural community decision maker do not believe the 5G hype, it will never happen in your community if the telcos have to build the costly infrastructure. Build a community network and sell the bandwidth to the 5G providers.

What no one is talking about is the infrastructure cost of 5G!


Rural Broadband Economics: A Review of Rural Subsidies

This paper, commissioned by NTCA – The Rural Broadband Association and USTelecom – The Broadband Association, examines communications networks, road networks, and electric power networks as three key network infrastructure industries; and the resulting vulnerability in low-density rural areas with the highest need for targeted subsidies.
In establishing sound public policy (and rules implementing that policy) regarding broadband deployment in high cost and rural areas, it is useful to first consider the economics of investments. In particular, the economics of network investment in rural areas is germane. Networks in general exhibit economies of density; that is, costs per user (or usage unit) are lower in high density areas. As one moves to more rural areas, with any network, the costs per user become increasingly high, eventually leading to unsustainable business models to provide network services.

In this respect, there are similarities between networks in communications, electric power, roads, natural gas distribution, water distribution, and sewer networks. By the very nature of network economics, each industry exhibits economies of density and each reaches a point at which un-subsidized provision of service in low-density areas is not viable. The causes of higher costs in low-density areas are discussed in this paper using communications examples. In addition, the scope of low-density areas in the United States are considered.
The importance of subsidies to networks in low-density areas is described for each of the major U.S. network industries. The importance of subsidies depends in large part on whether there are substitute methods of providing similar services (e.g., wells for water, propane tanks instead of nature gas networks, septic systems instead of sewer networks).

Links to the full PDF can be found at USTELECOM website HERE.

Airborne Sky Network. Will This Work?

Airborne Wireless Networks propose to use commercial aircraft as “mini-satellites” to form mesh networks in the sky to provide worldwide connectivity. Details HERE.

A view of aircraft in the sky over a 24 hour period HERE.  Another view of aircraft HERE.

Note the lack of aircraft over Russia, interior Africa, and South America. My guess is this would work best in the US and Europe.  And, it will require the cooperation of multiple airlines.  Will we see this solution to rural connectivity?



The Nevada County Bright Fiber History and Community Reaction

The Union has published a timeline for the Bright Fiber project in this story:

THE STORY, SO FAR: Long-awaited gigabit internet project in Nevada County takes new turn with new owner

More funding details in this story:

State funds remain in place for high-speed internet project in Nevada County

The comments following this story reveal the community’s frustration with the ongoing delays.

Race Communications to acquire Nevada County’s Bright Fiber and its fiber network project

Disclosure:  I was a Nevada County Community Network Board Member that voted to transfer the NCCN customer base to Spiral when AT&T refused to sell NCCN DSL services at bulk rates, which Spiral could offer customers.

Race Communications To Acquire Nevada County’s Bright Fiber And Its Fiber Network Project

A highly anticipated effort to bring high-speed fiber-optic internet service to the western Nevada County area, funded largely through nearly $17 million in grant money, may soon be in new hands.

Race Communications, a Bay Area company, has entered negotiations with Spiral Internet CEO John Paul to acquire Bright Fiber, an independent internet service provider in Nevada County that resells internet from wireline providers and has been working on building a new fiber network in the region.

According to company officials, Race Communications and Bright Fiber have come to an agreement on the terms of the purchase, which are currently pending regulatory approval from the California Public Utilities Commission.

“Bright Fiber offers an exciting opportunity for Race Communications to strengthen and expand its footprint in California,” Race Communications founder and CEO Raul Alcaraz said in a statement. “Our company has decades of experience in the telecom industry and we look forward to providing quality broadband and customer service to the residents in and around Nevada County.” ­­­­

Full story HERE.

Let’s hope this change of ownership will allow the project to move foreard. It has been on the books with not action for too long.


Does It Matter If China Beats The Us To Build A 5G Network?

Wired takes a look at the stakes in the global competition to deploy the next-generation wireless service.

TECHNICAL STANDARDS FOR the next generation of wireless services aren’t even finalized, yet the US and China are already locked in a crucial race to be the first country to deploy a so-called 5G network.

Or at least that’s what both the US government and the wireless industry say. “The United States will not get a second chance to win the global 5G race,” Meredith Attwell Baker, president and CEO of the wireless industry group CTIA, warned in April, when the group released a report concluding that the US trails China and South Korea in preparing for 5G (fifth generation) networks. If that doesn’t change, the report warns, the US economy will suffer.

Full article is HERE.

Still no discussion of 5G limitations to meet rural broadband needs. Millimeter waves planned for 5G implementation are blocked by vegetation requiring a clear line of sight. Millimeter waves have limited range, measured in yards rather than miles. The 5G technology is better suited for population dense urban neighborhoods, than less dense rural communities were users are distributed over broader areas covered in vegetation.

The Sierra hills and valleys covered in vegitation will present evan greater challanges to 5G installers.  When will this all become clear to rural community leaders counting on 5G to bring broadband to their constituents?

Broadband at End of Forty Mile Road: Community WiFI

by Russ Steele

There are rural communities in the Sierra that are  40 miles from fiber broadband connections and lack the population density necessary to attract cable providers.  Hughes Network Solutions is promoting the development of community WiFi networks using satellite backhaul.  A single high capacity network terminal serving a WiFi mesh network, with access costs comparable to urban broadband access.  The June issue of SatMagazine has the details. Download the article here: WiFi hotspots with satellite backhaul

Your thoughts. If you lived at the end of the forty mile road with 20 other families would you consider the Hughes approach as a broadband option?  Why not?