According to the World Economic Forum, around 37 per cent of the global population has no internet access. This means even in 2023; there will be approximately 3 billion completely offline people. Out of those who do have access, not everyone has excellent connectivity. Hence, although such individuals have requisite tools to access the internet, they cannot, in actual fact, access the educational, health and financial opportunities that can be availed. This demonstrates the massive digital gap existing in the world today. There are digital gaps not only across countries but also within them. Hence, in today’s world, where many things are accessible online, various communities are missing out on information and opportunities. One way to solve this is by providing 5G connectivity worldwide. This article will explore how 5G network connectivity can help bridge the digital divide.
What is 5G Fixed Wireless Access?
Traditionally, for a person to access the internet from their home, a connection could be enabled via a cable. Hence, they are known as ‘wired, fixed line broadband. Traditionally a range of tools is required to establish a connection. This includes fibre optic cables, a telephone line (DSL), and coaxial cables such as a cable modem and powerlines. It is through such tools that data is transmitted. This also meant that cables had to be fixed all over a person’s home or nearby. While fibre optic connections are said to be fast, the connection speed depends on the telecommunication’s nearest facility as well as the integrity of the phone.
On the other hand, fixed Wireless Access, known by its abbreviated term FWA is a type of 5G wireless technology which provides fixed broadband using radio frequencies. The difference between this and traditional forms of broadband connections is that there is no requirement to have cables installed. FWA consists of a base station with a fixed network and multiple subscriber units in an area. Through the base station, radio waves are used to communicate with the subscriber units, providing users access to high-speed internet. Multiple data transmitters are therefore attached to specific structures on the road, like a pole, building or tower. In other words, there is no need to use or install wires in your home or elsewhere. This way, an FWA can provide high-speed internet to areas where cables generally cannot reach, thereby offering internet access to those lacking digital resources. Such regions are most commonly called a ‘digital desert’ as they were traditionally regarded to have little or no access to high-speed internet.
What is the Potential of 5G Technology in Reducing the Digital Gap?
Considering that a 5G FWA does not require cables or physical infrastructure for the internet to be provided, it minimises the digital gap in multiple ways.
It Is Less Expensive
Traditional wired connections generally require a certain infrastructure to be in place for the internet to be available. In areas known as data deserts, massive infrastructure projects had to first be implemented for internet connections to even be established. The need for infrastructure as a pre-requisite to even provide access to the internet had made it extremely expensive for the government. This is because, most often, such areas would also face a range of other issues, including poverty, food shortage and others. In such situations, therefore, the government may lack the capacity to invest in projects that work toward building an infrastructure. With 5G technology, however, no such development projects need to be implemented. It, therefore, is a cost-effective and financially viable option.
A More Attractive Mode to Monetize the Spending on Wireless Connections
Most countries have data packages that are quite costly with a restricted data limit which sometimes tends to finish much sooner. This is another reason for the digital gap. Adopting a similar format to be implemented in underprivileged communities that would not have the means or the choice to invest in internet connections, many individuals belonging to such groups would simply choose not to use the internet as there are far pressing concerns. Due to the nature of 5G technology, however, in the first place, internet broadband providers themselves do not have to spend much when providing another internet connection. Hence, using 5G as a mechanism to provide connections at a lower cost for undeserving communities is a feasible solution to minimise the digital gap within nations.
It Increases Productivity
A report by McKinsey & Company notes that one of the most promising use cases of 5G technology is the increase in global GDP between USD 1.2 trillion and USD 2 trillion by 2030. This is because having access to the internet means more opportunities are available for people. Hence, there would be a tendency for one to make use of their connections by engaging in work. This is a win-win for society and the government. The more people that are employed, the more it benefits the growing economy of a country. As digitalisation became a core theme during COVID-19, rapidly installing digital infrastructures post-pandemic, experts also note that wireless factories built with the Internet of Things, another cost-effective digital tool, would offer people access to high-speed internet throughout the entire day.
Remember, Awareness and Education Comes First
Even in a world where government decide to enrol 5G connections to everyone in their country, it should be remembered that many of those include people with low IT literacy. Hence, even if such technologies were made available, without the proper awareness or training programs, people would not be open to trying out emerging technologies. Thus, it is of the utmost importance that initiatives are taken to educate communities on the various things that can be done with an internet connection and how they can use it. In other words, communities should be educated on the importance of acquiring digital skills. It could potentially improve the rural community’s access to healthcare, education, utilities and other sectors.
Cerexio: A Software Vendor That Convenes the Future 5G-Driven Nation
As one of the few technology vendors that wield the power of industry 4.0 solutions in South Asia and the world, Cerexio enables modern and futuristic solutions embedded with premium 5G capabilities. It guarantees reliable transmissions across your data works, giving you access to information. It, therefore, integrates 5G capabilities within each of its solution suites. Experience all operational workflows to increase work speed while enjoying low latency rates. Cerexio also promises its 5G connectivity meets high standards, making it highly reliable. It increases your options’ transmission speed and load capacities and strengthens the functionalities of big data analytics included in your system.
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Envision a World Where Everyone is Connected
Humans pride themselves on their innovation. Since the industrial revolution, the human race has contributed to improving civilisation. For some time, society has deemed itself to be ‘one global village’. In reality, however, not everyone can access that global network such a village promises. Due to this, many of the worlds cannot avail of features many consider mundane and pivotal in daily life. Imagine the possibilities of empowerment just an internet connection with high speeds can provide. If this is available to the world, it will be the starting step to a new future.
This article is prepared by Cerexio, a leading technology vendor that offers specialised solutions in the Advanced Manufacturing Technology Sector. The company is headquartered in Singapore and has offices even in Australia. Cerexio consists of a team of experts that have years of experience and holds detailed knowledge on a range of subject matters centric to the latest technologies offered in manufacturing and warehouse operations, as well as in predictive maintenance, digital twin, PLC & instrumentation setup, enterprise integrator, data analytics and total investment system.