COVID-19 has accelerated the urgency of eliminating the digital divide. Looking only at the pandemic’s impact on our children’s education, there is a worldwide need to expand access to broadband. Clearly, there are legitimate concerns about the economics of connecting the under-connected and unconnected. Recent trends in wireless technology have the potential to deliver high-capacity broadband at a fraction of the cost and time of trenching fiber. Access to the internet will be feasible for inner cities and rural areas.
Wireless technology is leading the way. An unprecedented combination of new RF spectrum in Wi-Fi 6, CBRS and 60 GHz, combined with software that manages these issues with great efficiency, is increasing multi-gigabit broadband speeds. This grouping of technologies makes it feasible to rapidly expand capacity and coverage at lower costs.
Network operators have more options to offer better connectivity, particularly in the poorly served urban locations, rural areas and suburbs. Opportunistic enterprises will create private networks for IoT/5G initiatives to increase productivity and efficiency.
With CBRS and 60 GHz solutions coming to market, as well as the advent of new Wi-Fi 6 products, the industry can accelerate the transition to multi-gigabit capacity. This improves the ability to conduct business and education from home while also providing more equal access to information. This dramatically increases the opportunities for people everywhere.
The pandemic has served as a catalyst to drive change. Connectivity is not a luxury or an advantage that sets people apart. It is an opportunity for all of us to share experiences, exchange ideas and become better. Join and support the people who are expanding access to information to expand education, healthcare and public safety.
More information on Atul Bhatnagar’s ideas appears in his guest blog post in Smart Cities Dive.