Institut Cerdà organised the conference “Towards the digital society: Territorial Deployment of 5G”. The conference aimed to present the contrasting visions of various actors and establish common criteria for an efficient, sustainable and inclusive deployment within the framework of the process of digital transition of society. La Caixa, Mobile World Capital Barcelona and the Department of Digital Policies and Public Administration of the Generalitat de Catalunya all collaborated in the conference.
Experts recommend sharing of infrastructure for the development of 5G deployment
Most experts agree on the need to promote infrastructure sharing models to guarantee the efficiency, inclusiveness and sustainability of 5G development. The main conclusion of the conference is that we must overcome technical and regulatory uncertainties and define management models that give powers to the municipalities and that are committed to the figure of the specialised or neutral operator to ensure 5G deployment to towns and cities avoiding duplication of networks and multiplication of the antennas and the consequent negative impact on public and private space.
The conference was held at the Palau Macaya in Barcelona, and organized by the Cerdà Institute with the collaboration of the Department of Digital Policies and Public Administration of the Generalitat of Catalonia, the 5G Barcelona and the La Caixa Foundation with the aim of promoting the debate on the development and management models of 5G.
Experts from a broad spectrum of both the telecommunications sector and the different public administrations participated in the event. According to Lluís Inglada, Director of the Territorial Area of Institut Cerdà and promoter of the conference, “society has already assumed the priority of facing the digital transition as an essential step to achieve new data and knowledge management capabilities and to have new services to citizens and for productive activities. All public and private agents agree on the importance of the implementation of 5G to achieve the objectives of greater efficiency, greater competitiveness, new opportunities and new developments. However, this implementation but it must be achieved using models that guarantee efficiency, sustainability and social and territorial inclusiveness. Now is the time to face the debate and raise questions about how to implement 5G: which management models should be used? What are the real benefits for companies, for institutions and for people? Who should manage 5G networks? These are issues that need to be resolved.”
During the day the conclusions of the study “Strategy and Argumentation for the densification and rationalization of 5G mobile networks” developed by Institut Cerdà were announced. The study contrasts the challenges related to the new technology with the visions of more than 30 agents linked to 5G, presenting their doubts, expectations and concerns related to how to achieve the best fit of the technology to the territory where it is to be developed and deployed.
The different agents that have participated in the study agree that the initial 5G development will take advantage of existing telecommunications infrastructure networks and will prioritise providing service in areas of demand concentration (urban areas and focal points of leisure, tourist and commercial activity). According to the experts, the most disruptive attributes of 5G (massive device connection and very low latency) will be deployed during a second phase to be expected between 2021 and 2023. This will require a significant increase in the density of infrastructure associated with the network. To be more specific, it is expected that 3 to 4 times more antennas will be needed than are currently deployed in cities and the territory across Spain (between 50,000 and 75,000 new micro-antennas). The model and the number of infrastructures that the development will require will be determined by technological standardisation, the development of new features and use cases, and by the network management model employed. In this respect, and to guarantee the efficiency and rationality of its implementation throughout the territory, experts recommend moving towards shared networks, collaboration amongst all agents and the inclusion of specialised network operators. Dissemination and training at both the social and professional level is also of critical importance.
The study also places emphasis on the criteria that should be taken into account to ensure an adequate development of 5G. These area as follows:
- Rationalisation of the occupation of public and private space
- Management models that promote infrastructure sharing and neutrality, guaranteeing accessibility and free competition
- Territorial balance, equal access to services and comprehensive development models
- Development of the regulatory and technological challenges pending the development of 5G
- Boosting R&D to boost technology use cases
- Improvement of public services and opportunity for economic and social development for the territories
- Promotion of the application of 5G in local economic sectors and promotion of the business fabric linked to new technology
- Dissemination, training and participation of social groups
- Promotion of knowledge about the environmental, social and territorial effects of technology
- Ensuring privacy, ethics and digital security
You can download the study on the publications page