The IT Pro Podcast: Can 5G close the digital divide?

The IT Pro Podcast: Can 5G close the digital divide?

From talking to our friends to getting through our daily workload, there’s very little in modern life that doesn’t depend on the internet in some capacity. But while that’s all very well for most of us, a significant number of people in the UK have little or no access to the internet, and this can be a major problem for issues like skills, employment and more.

This problem has not gone unnoticed, however, and efforts are underway to help close this element of the digital divide. One potential technology that could offer a solution is 5G, and in this week’s episode, we’re joined by Cisco’s UK CTO Chintan Patel to discuss how this new technology can be deployed to help address the issue, some of the potential pitfalls, and why government and the private sector need to work together to ensure that in the rush for digital transformation, no-one is left behind.


“We've been having to do these trials to prove out the technology, to overcome some of those physical barriers that exist; there’s the laws of physics, which you can't generally get around. But also, it isn't all just about 5G - it's about finding the right technology for the right use case, and actually meshing together different types of technology to deliver what you're trying to achieve. In some cases, it might not be 5G directly all the way to a rural area - maybe it's a combination of things. Maybe it's 5G backhaul, but it might be high speed Wi-Fi 6 directly to you, and it's actually these technologies working together.”

“There's something that the government does need to do in terms of making sure there's uniform access available, that it's fair, that it's affordable. And equally, for the providers of the technology and providers of those services, to make sure that we’re collectively delivering the levels of speeds, or levels of quality and affordability, that will allow people to tap into it. So I think it's a collective thing that we need to do.”

Read the full transcript here.




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