UK5G’s Barrier Busting Roundtable Event in London gave the chance to share ideas, insights, and experiences from these different sectors.
By better understanding the barriers to 5G adoption, we can work out how everything from communications campaigns and process changes to government policy could further support the 5G rollout across the country.
What became immediately clear is that one challenge or solution from one sector, could act as a lesson learned or benefit for another.
On the back of the panel discussion, we’ve identified three lessons from these 5G cross-sector parallels. In this blog we’ll give a quick summary of each, and if you want to find out more download our full industry paper.
Lesson one: Learning from uplink challenges to benefit all
Demand for faster upload speeds exists across sectors, with healthcare and broadcast deemed as having the greatest requirements. Use cases which involve high data volumes that need real-time analysis are the most in need.
For healthcare, these high upload speeds are needed for a range of use cases, many of which could directly impact patient outcome, such as transmitting and receiving complex imagery for sudden incidents. Yet it’s also a sector that requires ubiquity of connectivity, making it mainly relying on public 5G networks.
Attendees posed the question, should mobile network operators (MNOs) be given greater flexibility around the 3:1 download to upload ratio, currently enforced by Ofcom?
However, lessons learned in live sports broadcasting could be replicated, with the use of test spectrum during the Commonwealth Games to balance uplink and downlink metrics, allowing for high quality live broadcast over 5G.
Lesson two: ‘Secure by Design’ 5G could calm cyber nervousness
Our panel explored why 5G security must go beyond just the network perimeter.
Any weak link in the chain - from application security, end users, to physical security - can all be exploited by hackers. Access to 5G radio equipment, which may live on street furniture for example, also needs to be considered.
On top of this, there is notable tension between security requirements and the value of improved connectivity, particularly in the delivery of public services.
In response, the panel suggested the industry could take a “secure by design” approach, creating an industry badge not dissimilar to the product and service quality “kitemark.”
By applying such an accreditation across sectors, it would help create trust in the underlying security of a system, which in turn could encourage investment in 5G.
Lesson three: Could a common public 5G network improve access for all?
There was unequivocal agreement that greater coverage from public 5G networks would in the long-term help deliver the wider benefits associated with 5G to the country.
However, the immaturity of use cases in sectors such as health & social care, and transport, is making investment in standalone 5G networks difficult to justify for MNOs today.
Both sectors could deliver high public benefit with 5G – so is a new approach needed to bring this to light?
One bold idea from the panel was a public body controlled by government in a ‘Network Rail’ style model for 5G, which could drive strategy and decision making. In turn this could, helping steer funding and investment where there is a greatest public need.
Collaboration the key to future 5G success
Following the event, the benefit in bringing together different sectors to share their experiences was clear.
As much of the development of 5G has so far been in isolated pockets, it gave an opportunity to join the dots between these industries leading the charge.
A summary of the discussion was captured in this live sketch below:
While there are no perfect answers to some of the barriers, a learning from one industry could benefit others. Continued collaboration to grapple the wider challenges surrounding the rollout can help shape the future of 5G in the UK.
If you want to explore the three cross-sector parallels in detail, you can view our industry paper here.