5G’s potential to transform cities is vast, with public space, transport and healthcare all areas that could be overhauled.
Urban populations are set to explode across the globe with two-thirds of the world’s population predicted to live in cities by 2050 according to the UN. That influx of people will put a strain on transport systems.
executive summary
Main impacts of 5G on cities
Smarter cities - Thousands of 5G sensors across cities will collect data, informing better use of resources and management of assets. Greener, cleaner cities - smart energy grids will be able to monitor and universally automate energy usage. As more devices and sensors are connected these systems’ ability to adjust to supply and demand will increase.
Better utilisation of existing infrastructure - Hardwiring 5G technology into transport management systems across road and rail, they can be made more efficient and able to cope with increased demand.
Vehicle-to-everything - If driverless cars are to become fully autonomous, it is crucial that they can communicate with cars around them and the roads they are on. 5G enabled sensors will make this a reality thanks to its higher speeds compared to 4G
Healthcare - 5G’s seamless connectivity can enable AI and sensors that monitor patients’ health in real time. Virtual surgery through AR and VR will mean expert surgeons can perform operations from the other side of the globe
Within the residential sphere, it is important to separate out the benefits for consumers: Up to £90bn boost to the UK economy by 2030
A massive driver of fibre to the home/business
The potential to make our cities cleaner and greener
Cost of infrastructure – who will front the cost of the small antennae needed to comprehensively cover London
Regulators have given mobile operators wide-ranging powers causing friction with landowners
Huge cost to create density needed
Rural areas could be left behind compared to cities in 5G coverage
Infrastructure - what's needed where?
I've Got the Power – The Importance of Code Powers
Smart Roads and Smart Vehicles
Bridging the Urban – Rural Divide
Andy McVeigh
5G lead for Addleshaw Goddard
Andy is the 5G lead for Addleshaw Goddard. He is a partner in our Construction team and heads up the firm's student accommodation team.
The Kit Cities need: The BT Group View
Q. You are leading the way in deploying 5G with some very clear benefits for consumers and businesses. What are the main technical barriers you face in deploying 5G in cities? How do these affect the various metrics of performance (e.g. speed, bandwidth, latency)? And to what degree will some types of location have better 5G performance than others? We’re interested here in explaining how the physical environments we have need to be adapted in order to share best practice with the real estate world.
A. Network design in cities is a very different proposition to rural areas. The focus is not simple provision of coverage, as it might be in a rural area. Instead, network operators need to determine how to deliver enough capacity to meet the far higher levels of demand that are experienced. As a result, the overall volume of equipment and specific site locations is much higher in major population centres than elsewhere.
This capacity challenge becomes particularly acute within urban areas where large numbers of people gather. Good examples include train stations or major sporting and/or entertainment venues. In these places, site density needs to be even more geographically dense. Equipment must be sited on whatever available structures or buildings there are. For most city centres, this means rooftops.
The next challenge is around the different propagation characteristics of the radio spectrum being used. 2G, 3G, 4G and now 5G networks all either already do, or will in the future, use different radio spectrum bands to deliver connectivity. Because of this, antennas must be in very specific locations to avoid the performance and coverage of masts using differing technologies being affected.
In addition, new buildings completed after antenna begin operating can create a ‘shadowing’ effect which also impacts network performance. This can mean a much higher requirement in urban areas for antennas to be moved around and/or upgraded than is the case elsewhere. Regular access to sites becomes much more important and new development can, in turn, impact that access.
Finally, urban areas tend to see higher volumes of ‘Notices to Quit’ (NTQ) issued by landlords than rural areas do. NTQs are typically issued if the landlord has some alternative use for the building or location which hosts a mobile site. An NTQ will generally mean complete relocation of all the equipment on a site, which can in turn lead to the ‘propagation impacts’ described above.
In sum, urban network design is not just about ‘building’ the network, which is complex in of itself. There is a constant stream of upgrading, testing, assessment and modifications needed to ensure current demand can be met, and future demand catered for. All of that requires physical access on an ongoing basis to a given site location, and a landlord who understands and is prepared to facilitate that need.
Q. Is it technically possible to use major infrastructure projects – such as road and rail – to enhance 5G deployment? Has this been considered and what difference would it make if new motorways and new railways were integrated with 5G-supporting technology? What physically would need to be done, or would it better to direct funding to upgrading existing infrastructure?
A. In general, major infrastructure development will naturally generate demand for new mobile infrastructure. A new motorway will, for example, generate more traffic and therefore more users within a given geographical area. 5G’s potential application for interconnected vehicles is likely to intensify this demand. But perhaps the key challenge faced lies in supporting concentrated demand where new rail lines terminate. For example, Crossrail in London will generate thousands of new users coming through a single point at rush hour. That, in turn, requires substantial numbers of new antennas to be located nearby. Beyond that, provision of 5G connectivity can be promoted through early engagement with network providers on the locations and characteristics of whatever infrastructure project is under consideration. This already happens with major housing schemes or major commercial projects. Experience has shown that network deployment is received far more positively by local residents, and encounters less planning related issues, if it takes place alongside new development. Such engagement can help to avoid a key risk: that major infrastructure is developed in a way that doesn’t align with current network plans or has characteristics that directly impact 4G and 5G network provision. For example, motorways and rail lines can be built with numerous tunnels or within cuttings. These are often network ‘not spots’ by default unless network providers are involved from the outset. Even if they are, addressing such issues are complex and require close collaboration. For example, broadcasting a signal into a tunnel portal entrance requires an antenna to be placed at a very specific location at the right height. That need must be balanced with wider considerations, including the safety and ongoing operation of the rail line or road. Infrastructure developers also need to think carefully about how individual buildings are designed and built. At present, 5G signal has difficulty penetrating large concrete structures with insulated glazing. This means, at least initially, that new 5G infrastructure needs be located inside such buildings to ensure users can receive services when they are also located within them. This requires consideration at the design stage. Delivering 5G coverage in this environment needs space, an operations room, dry riser access and early survey work by network operators. The earlier this is considered by an architect, the lower the cost and timescales associated with provision of connectivity later on will be. The situation may change once new 5G spectrum is auctioned by Ofcom next year. In our view, one way to reduce such risks could be through insertion of relevant planning conditions within decision notices whereby developers need to consult with all network operators, including mobile ones, in the course of development. As matters stand, most conditions normally only refer to fixed network providers. This would provide a direct incentive to ensure solutions are developed early on rather than retrofitting equipment at far greater expense later.
Q. On a technical level, how do the energy requirements of the infrastructure you are installing for 5G differ from existing 3G and 4G infrastructure? What are the needs and how are you working with energy providers to address these needs?
A. Telecoms equipment has comparatively low energy requirements to other typical features of large buildings. Air-conditioning units, lift systems and heating/ventilation systems all generate far higher usage. Within city centres access to the existing power networks is well understood and generally routine. Mobile infrastructure on buildings has access to the landlord’s supply, with a separate meter unit logging energy use. When planning new network deployment, an operator will generally assume that the current power provisions and agreements are suitable. There will also be an annual assessment of each network’s power usage to monitor requirements at the whole network level. Energy markets are also monitored and agreements made in anticipation of market fluctuations.
Q. How does network slicing work and how important will it become in the public realm? It’s one to stream music on a street corner, but quite another to connect hundreds of cars and street-level sensors in a small area. What will be needed to enable all this to happen?
A. Network slicing will become increasingly important in the converged networks of the future, allowing ‘virtual’ network links with specific characteristics to be created on an agile, dynamic basis according to customer needs. In a world where we have, effectively, one network, network Slicing gives us the option to create virtual networks within that overall network infrastructure. These ‘slices’ can be optimised towards specific characteristics in an agile way. This capability has several specific applications. For example, it allows for the creation of dedicated low-latency network slices for health, virtual reality or gaming applications, or high-bandwidth slices for 4K and 8K broadcast transmission. This will support our efforts to efficiently deliver the digital services that customers will want with the Quality of Service (QoS) and network monitoring they need. These improvements will take time to come on stream as this is still an emerging technology area, but the research team at the BT Labs are pushing the potential of this technology, working with our vendor partners.
Q. Given only one percent of commercial buildings are “new” what can owners of existing buildings do to ensure they are not left behind? What are some of the common mistakes people make in how they think about planning for 5G? What should people be doing now?
A. One fundamental step that existing owners can take is to familiarise themselves with, and commit to, reaching agreements with network operators under what is referred to as ‘new Code terms’.
Most agreements to use a site for mobile infrastructure are reached under the terms of the Electronic Communications Code (ECC). In December 2017, a new ECC was introduced under the provisions of the Communications Act (2003). While the Code itself is statutory in nature, it is accompanied by a non-statutory code of practice that governs the way agreements should be reached between provider and landlord. The aim of these changes (often referred to as ‘new Code’) was to make it easier for network operators to install and maintain apparatus such as phone masts, exchanges and cabinets on public and private land.
The new Code recognises the need for each operator’s network to be extensively upgraded and reconfigured on a regular basis. This is expensive and time consuming. Operators will generally prefer to deal with landlords who are prepared to enter into agreements on new Code terms, as this allows them to reduce the time to deployment, releases capital to invest in more equipment and provides the necessary coverage that the landowner wishes for.
The new Code also embodies a wider philosophical shift on the part of Government that connectivity is of key social and economic importance, so operators need improved access rights. Increasingly, hosting a mobile site is not purely a revenue generating activity, and is instead a means to benefit indirectly from access to the technology that the new site enables. We are keen to see a more general shift from landlords as whole towards this view, as it will help to ensure swift network deployment across wider areas, which enhances the wider economic benefits that 5G will bring to them.
Q. When it comes to installing the masts and cells required to support rollout, how does BT work with local councils and property owners and are there things the Government could do at a policy level to make it easier, either from a planning perspective or when it comes to potential tax incentives? We’re interested in being able to make recommendations about anything that could accelerate roll out, for instance some form of established partnership between the public and private sector.
A. At least initially, BT is deploying 5G networks through existing mobile sites already used for 4G. Given this, much of the discussion with property owners is about measures that may need to be taken to upgrade those sites takes place through MBNL, which is a joint venture between BT and CK Hutchinson, who operate the 3 network, and generally manages much of the wider network infrastructure as well as most new site deployments. We also work alongside appointed agents who manage the process of any new site acquisition, maintenance and upgrades. These agents and/or MBNL will also handle any planning applications that need to be submitted for individual sites and liaise with landlords and owners accordingly.
BT’s direct relationships with council leaderships are handled by a series of dedicated regional liaison teams. They consider our relationships with local authorities, alongside our role as major local employers, innovators and investors in local areas.
In supporting rollout, the Government is already considering a suite of measures that will increase scope for application of PDR across a wider range of the works necessary for upgrade or delivery of new mobile sites for 5G. These are currently being consulted on. If they become policy, implementation will require new secondary legislation. Eventually, we hope these changes will simplify the process for installing new equipment and existing upgrading masts and sites to 5G. In rural areas, they should also support lower numbers of masts being necessary to provide 4G and 5G coverage through allowing greater scope for those masts to be higher than is often permitted under the current planning regime.
Longer term, the Government will need to seriously consider applying the same approach to supporting roll-out of mobile networks in areas that are not commercially viable as it historically has for fixed broadband networks. The efforts of the private sector to date should not be underestimated. Over the past 20 years, £45 billion has been spent on new mobile infrastructure and £30 billion on spectrum licences. Despite this, 9% of the UK’s geographic area is not currently covered by any mobile network, let alone 5G. This is simply because the upfront and operating costs can’t be met by the demand for mobile services that are present in these areas. The mobile sector has made a clear proposal to Government for how this gap could be closed as part of its vision for a ‘Shared Rural Network’. It makes clear that public funding will be necessary to close that gap.
The paradigm of increased connectivity
Christopher Choa
Director of Cities at AECOM
The massive bandwidth and low latency of 5G suggests we will have engaging meetings with family, friends, and co-workers without needing to be physically present, even if they are hundreds of miles away.
Theoretically, because communication will be so vivid, we could have more virtual working and less need for face-to-face exchanges, which in turn might reduce demand for city centre locations. Perhaps this will fundamentally alter our built environment. But we are probably misunderstanding the promise. Here’s what’s more likely: we will experience the phenomenon of induced demand; whenever supply increases, we consume more of it. Let’s say that for work, the average person regularly relates to a casual tribe of 100 people, with 10% of those relationships – a more important subset of ten people - satisfied on a more personal face-to-face basis. With 5G, we might engage many of those ten important face-to-face exchanges by immersive video. If we used to regularly travel into work every day of the week, wouldn’t we easily cut down our office commitment – maybe even down to one or two days a week? Probably not. 5G will not reduce the desire for urban density or support the suburban or rural-living dream, because it will never replace our very human desire to socialise in person. But we cannot assume that our future world will have the same number of interactions as we have now; 5G will induce demand for many more interactions, which will in turn increase the need for social presence. If we are real-estate investors, tomorrow’s 5G communications might suggest weaker land values in the short term. But in the longer term, as we gradually increase the number of our casual contacts by orders of magnitude, we create scarcity; those land values will remain strong.
Don’t treat telecom operators as an afterthought
Belinda Fawcett
General Counsel and Director of Property and Estates, Cornerstone Telecommunications Infrastructure
Cornerstone operates over 25,000 sites across the UK. The company acquires, builds and manages sites on behalf of Vodafone and Telefonica (O2) who share the sites and install their own active equipment to provide mobile connectivity in the UK.
Q. What is the argument for having separate ownership and operation of the infrastructure?
BF. The main purpose behind setting up these JVs to own and manage the infrastructure was to reduce costs for the Operators, to allow them to reinvest in the network. The ECC legislation was also introduced because the cost of running the infrastructure and providing coverage, all while trying to meet government objectives in terms of rural coverage, was rising exponentially. All four operators used to have their own infrastructure, with sites often side by side, and we're all paying the same amount of rent. So, it made sense to combine them and share the cost. Additionally, there was also a lot of environmental pressure not to have too many masts and the government supported more sharing.
Q. How many sites do you operate?
BF. We own and manage around 25,000 sites across the UK. We have infrastructure on rooftops, on greenfield sites, and street works. And there are small cells, or microcells, as well. We work with around 12,000 individual landlords. Some are farmers and rural landowners, and some are larger, multi-site providers such as Arqiva.
Q. In terms of Code powers, have they slowed down the planning process? Are proceedings getting log jammed in tribunals and legal back-and-forth?
BF. The myth that's out there says that operators have been hugely aggressive, but that's not true. What we're doing is exactly what the government wants us to do, which is to try and take cases to tribunals to seek the clarity that everybody needs to make this whole Code work. People simply aren't engaging because of the devaluation issues, which is the main sticking point. There's a misconception that we're taking everything to tribunal. We are negotiating consensual deals but unfortunately there seems to be a concerted effort by some in the landlord community to try and scupper the success of the Code. That's making things quite difficult for us. To expel the myth, out of thousands of sites where we're looking to either renew or acquire new sites, we've got less than 100 where we have served paragraph 20 notices, and less than 20 which we've taken to tribunal. Ultimately, the very intention of the legislation is to reduce the rent that we pay for a site, which was becoming untenable. The cost of rolling out the rural network with the rents that were being charged was unreasonable. The legislation sets out how to properly value a site and agree the compensation, and we're following that valuation mechanism. There have been a number of tribunal decisions which have given good guidance to us in terms of how someone might value a site, and we're following that and changing our approach as the guidance comes out. This will hopefully provide the clarity that all parties need. It's easy to forget that this is all very new. It's a recent piece of legislation and is pretty ground-breaking stuff, and not the easiest piece of legislation to interpret. That's why we're really trying to lead the way in getting the clarity that the government has asked for by taking these cases to tribunal. It's not easy, because of the work that's involved in doing it, but unless we do, we're not going to move forward. I think what we really need from the property industry is some support in this, in working with the government, and looking at some test cases. This isn't just down to us because we don't know how the tribunal will determine things, but we believe it will at least give us all clarity and will stop this ridiculous impasse.
Q. So what’s your advice to the property industry then?
BF. People are putting their heads in the sand among the property industry and are in some circumstances being advised to just ignore this problem until it goes away. But I say don't ignore it. We can't ignore it. This is happening, the legislation is in place, and we have to embrace it. We all need connectivity. We all know that rural areas need better connectivity, and even London needs better connectivity. If you go to any other European city, you often get better coverage than we do in London, and that's because of the nuances of how our property industry works. The property industry should recognise that they have an opportunity to take a leadership role in driving the code legislation that can benefit the public. We need to work together to try and get this moving.
Q. Does the property industry feel that they are subsidising the profits of telecoms firms?
BF. Well, if you turned it on its head and said to a property developer that they needed to build a 25,000 square foot office block in the middle of the highlands, what would they do? I don't imagine that they would want to do that, and they'd certainly want some support, help, or compensation as they would be unlikely to get a tenant willing to pay a commercial rent to get pay back on the investment. The costs of installing the infrastructure necessary to support ubiquitous coverage is huge. For example to put the fibre in on a site in the highlands was going to cost nearly a million pounds. That mast was only serving a small area mostly occupied by a few hundred sheep. You're never going to get a return on that, and that's been recognised by the government and that’s why the legislation was introduced to encourage that investment. There's a very small percentage of sites across the UK that are profitable.
Q. Isn’t the main problem with the Code that it’s a barrier to redevelopment? It stops people going about their lawful business.
BF. We absolutely acknowledge that things can be delayed, and there's never any intention to do that. We want to work with landowners, and one of the things we are asking is that they engage with us earlier. We often find that landowners treat telecom operators as an afterthought. We want landowners to talk to us and give us as much notice as possible, as it's often quite hard for us to find alternative sites. If the property industry helped us more, we could perhaps move elsewhere temporarily while redevelopment goes on, then return once it’s completed. That’s how we want to see it working, and our understanding of the legislation is that if there are redevelopment plans by a landlord, then they give us a time frame within which we have to move elsewhere.
Q. It’s quite a long notice period isn’t it? You get 18 months, then another further period to vacate.
BF. It is, but that doesn’t always make it easy. If we have to get off a site it isn’t as simple as locating another retail unit, for example. You might need to get three replacements to be able to find the same level of coverage. It's quite hard in the city or in the West End to find that, particularly where you've also got a lot of redevelopment taking place anyway. So, 18 months probably seems a long time for the developer, but for us, that's actually not very long considering what we have to do to find the site, get the planning, get the fibre to the site and do everything that we need to. But also, I would argue that redevelopment plans don't just start 18 months before a site has to be vacated. My issue is that we are the last people to be engaged. If you've got tenants in the property, the owners will go to the tenants inside the building and serve notices. My ask is to not forget us, let us know as soon as possible of any intention to redevelop. We do have a risk register, and the minute that we know that something is happening, we will begin the search to find an alternative location.
Q. But you find that dealing with the public sector is relatively easier than dealing with the private sector, which is somewhat ironic.
BF. The private sector are reluctant to host telecoms infrastructure on their properties, while local authorities are looking at the wider benefits it’s going to bring to the communities from an economic, social and environmental aspect.
Q. To what degree is the rollout of 5G going to affect the polarisation between rural and urban ‘haves and have nots’? Is it going to widen that divide? We talk about the need for densification, but where there is less imperative to go and roll all this kit out in an isolated market town, is someone going to need to step in and do that? There are already areas of the country that have poor connectivity, so what does the government need to do to make sure we fill in some of these blank spots?
BF. I think the industry has been talking to the Government about this for some time. I'm sure that there are initiatives in play that are going to deliver this. There was a project two years ago known as the Mobile Infrastructure Project. But owing to the difficulties and the cost of deploying infrastructure in some of the rural areas, unfortunately it wasn't very successful. The Government put money up to deliver that, but it was just too difficult in some of these rural areas. But conversations are ongoing to find solutions, and I think that if we can get the new legislation to work and reduce costs we will definitely improve the amount of coverage we can provide in those areas. Somebody said to me the other day – and actually it resonated a bit – that if somebody had a fatal emergency in a rural area because someone hasn’t got the right connectivity on their mobile phones, it could be because operators haven’t been allowed to put masts up in that area. Maybe then, the economic and social benefits of having good connectivity would be realised. A while ago we had a motorway site where we hosted the emergency services, the site was down but the landlord was blocking us getting access, meaning a stretch along the motorway had no emergency services coverage. In the end, we had to get the police to help us get access. That sort of behaviour is negligent and unacceptable. This is where a code will come into play, helping us to access sites to undertake essential repairs and maintenance where necessary to deliver better mobile connectivity.
©2019 Addleshaw Goddard LLP
Extra MSA are one of the UK’s leading owners and operators of motorway service areas, and have recently been facing the challenge of adding to their number of sites while preparing for 5G connectivity and superfast electric vehicle charging.  With construction underway at their new Leeds Skelton Lake site, and proposals in the works for services at Solihull, Amersham, and Warrington, Extra have been engaging in a number of collaborations to ensure both their existing services and these new sites are totally ready to serve the tech requirements of their customers.
Connectivity through service stations
Andrew Long,
Chief executive officer, Extra Motorway Service Area Group
Q. How much progress have you made towards rolling out EV charging stations?
A. We already have four to six bay 50kW Multi Charger facilities at all existing Extra MSAs in conjunction with Ecotricity, and these will remain in situ until at least November 2021. They will imminently be complemented by the installation of six 350kW IONITY ‘high powered’ charging stations at each location for the first phase of their involvement. This will then be further enhanced by what is likely to be an additional six 350kW ‘high powered’ charging stations being installed in the next five to seven years, dependent upon customer demand.
Q. What barriers are limiting your rollout of superfast electric vehicle charging?
A. There are significant deficiencies in regional Distribution Network Operator (DNO) infrastructure. These do present challenges to Extra and its EV charging station tenant operating partner IONITY, preventing us from procuring the necessary level of power supply specific to each location.  This has not improved with the DNO operators, and Government intervention is required in order that a national problem is addressed on a national basis and not piecemeal through individual DNOs.
Q. Is it simpler to provide EV charging facilities on a new build, or adapt an older site?
A. Irrespective of the age of an MSA facility or whether or not it is a ‘new build’, the process of procuring the necessary level of electricity supply for EV ‘high powered’ charging is substantially the same.  Primarily, it is a geographical challenge in terms of whether or not the DNO infrastructure is in existence to meet supply requirements or in need of being upgraded. The current DNO approach is typically one of asking the customer to pay for upgrading their network, when in my view it should be their own responsibility to meet the changing demands of their customers.
Q. How can the government support the providers of EV charging?
A. The government needs to adopt a clear plan and timetable for procuring the upgrading of the infrastructure, working with National Grid and bringing together the respective DNOs for a uniformed approach in order to provide a consistent solution for what is a national requirement.
Q. Is there a need for collaboration in the long-term to update motorway systems?
A. There is definitely a need for collaboration and this is now starting to happen.  OLEV, in conjunction with Government and input from respective MSA operators, are now starting to realise the challenge that needs to be addressed.  This is also supported by Highways England/DfT, and I have myself been involved in a number of OLEV Highways England/DfT meetings, as well as lobbying Ministers and encouraging a national approach through entities such as National Grid. As formally announced earlier this year, Extra has entered into a Framework Agreement with IONITY whose Shareholders include Audi, BMV, Ford, Hyundai, Mercedes, Porsche and VW. This will support the provision of EV ‘high powered’ charging stations at all seven existing Extra ‘umbrella branded’ MSAs, together with our new MSA developments at M1 Leeds Skelton Lake and M42 Solihull.
Q. What other energy initiatives have Extra been engaging in?
A. In addition to the ongoing upgrades of the EV charging station facilities, Extra is also facilitating Shell’s Alternative Fuels Strategy, which has already included the provision of hydrogen fuel as a five year pilot scheme at Extra’s M25 Cobham and M40 Beaconsfield MSAs. It is also clear from our close working relationship with Valero that there will be further significant innovations in fossil fuels, as well as an ever increasing role for biofuels like ethanol. Valero is one of the largest producers of ethanol in the world and biofuels are also an important element for Shell and BP, together with their own initiatives for EV Charging.
Mid-Sussex is not urban. We have three towns and are bookended by the Ashdown Forest and the South Downs. We have more trees than people. But we as much as any other authority have started thinking about 5G infrastructure and provision now because it will have huge implications for the planning and layout of our built and rural environments. Thinking about our current town centres and resources, the sort of connectivity we talk about with 5G and the digitalisation of transport means we can use all our resources better. Cars can be closer, and automatically take alternative routes, so there’s less traffic, and town centres don’t need as much car parking because it's efficiently allocated or people are dropped off. Emissions and energy usage can be effectively monitored. That starts to change the nature of the town centre and its infrastructure provision: do we need as much parking, do we need more satellite delivery centres? The infrastructure required for that is excellent connectivity. At its simplest planning includes provisions for smart signs and street furniture – and laying the connection for those. But driverless vehicles are going to need excellent connectivity all along their routes, as are commuters on trains. With London and Gatwick to the north, Brighton the south, we have some seriously busy transit corridors for train and car, we need to provide for those, and we also want to measure sustainability along them.
The place of local government: examples from a quasi-rural local authority
Simon Hughes,
Head of Digital and Customer Service - Mid-Sussex Council
Hitachi Vantara, a subsidiary of Japanese conglomerate Hitachi, deals with high performance storage, big data analytics, as well as building data driven digital solutions, which can all be boosted by 5G.
The capacity needed and its potential
Felipe Padilla Gomez,
CTO of IoT, AI and Analytics, Hitachi Vantara
CTO Felipe Padilla Gomez talks about the challenges around building the necessary infrastructure to unlock the benefits 5G can bring.
Q. What is needed in terms of infrastructure to make 5G happen?
A. The first thing telecoms companies are doing is fitting for the change in the mobile access technology – the communication between your device (such as a mobile phone) to a network tower. That’s changing because it will be much higher speed under 5G. What that requires is small cells embedded in buildings, and the responsibility for that capability is going to fall on property managers – in much the same way Wi-Fi does now. This is already happening in the US and Asia. Secondly, the entire network capacity needs upgrading to bear the data load of 5G telecoms. That requires mass rollout of fibre-optic installation by Telco's, to increase core capacity and sustain the hundreds of exabytes of data 5G connections will manage. Telecoms companies had to make a massive step change to bear the impact that the 4G switchover had, sustaining 75% of internet traffic being video. With 5G, that step change is multiplied by a hundred times. Telcos are investing billions in infrastructure to prepare for the data requirements of 5G – buying a spectrum, core capacity, and optimising their infrastructure to sustain that. From a property perspective, those who already have fibre installed will benefit hugely. But people might be surprised to know that even non-connected sites will benefit from 5G without needing fibre. Residential and commercial sites will be able to enjoy gigabit capacity with 5G via fixed wireless access services from Telecom companies, and this is one of the ways telcos will monetise 5G, in addition to IoT and new offerings to emergency services.
Q. How is 5G going to help businesses solve problems and spur online communication?
A. From a collaboration perspective, it’s hard to look past augmented reality. Holograms will be viable: the Star Wars Princess Leia science fiction fantasy will finally be reality.  Augmented reality can also be used in heavy asset areas for applications such as assisting emergency services. During a fire, VR can help navigate firefighters inside the building who may be lost or blinded by smoke. That’s just one example, and that alone is going to save countless lives in the future.  That’s the potential of the step-change in capacity provided. 5G allows that because of the reduction of what is called latency: how fast a connection is. Latency is why video-conferencing and Skype connections have been notoriously unreliable to date. However, 5G reduces latency to a millisecond level, and that enables an array of new things: tactile technologies, remote controlling, and a whole level of new applications. The IoT is going to heavily transform most of the urban settings we live and work in, from smart cities to university campuses. Sensors collecting data in real-time, and making improvements to optimise public spaces for safety, convenience and comfort, will all become a reality. 5G exponentially increases the number of devices that can be connected to the network in a given area, as well as reducing the battery life required to run devices. That means they can be deployed in spaces like roads, where it would be impractical and expensive to have devices that need replacing every year or so, but where 5G allows devices that can last over a decade.
The View from Hangzhou: How a Chinese City approaches 5G
Mr Yonghui QU,
Deputy Director, Bureau of Commerce, Zhejiang Hangzhou Future Science and Technology City (Zhejiang Overseas High-level Talents Innovation Park).
1. How are you planning on using new technology in the development of cities in China?
A. At present, we are struggling to build a new model of smart city and digital China. The urban development of modern city requires the new methods are really need to use new science and technology, new methods to improve the city operation and management efficiency and service support capability of the people's livelihood, and thus to build a strong software ecosystem of a new city. We basically rely and focus on development of such core technologies as 5G, artificial intelligence, big data, cloud computing, the Internet of Things in order to integrate into global leading innovations of new science and technology, to build more sectors of smart city including intelligent government, civil affairs, finance, security, transportation, ports, education, health care, real estate, environmental protection, pension support and so on, using new science and technology to encourage the construction of a new type of intelligent city.
4. China is known for leading the world in delivering huge infrastructure projects. What infrastructure are you planning at Hangzhou?
A. In terms of improving large-scale infrastructure construction, Hangzhou mainly has the following layout. Hangzhou actively plans to build a new high-speed railway station in the west of Hangzhou, a Hangzhou Future Science and Technology Culture Center, South Lake Science Center, Hangzhou City West Sub-Center and First-class International Innovation and Entrepreneurship Community; accelerate the completion of strategic planning research on green transportation network system, layout of infrastructure such as rail transit, distribution of public facilities, and focus on improving the comprehensive carrying capacity and he level of internationalization; improve the construction of educational infrastructure, various high-level schools like Haichuang School of Xuejun Middle School, Hangzhou School of the People's Congress Affiliated Secondary School and other schools was established with wide social approval; Yuhang Hospital of Zhejiang Medical College provides medical treatment and other for surrounding neighborhood. In Hangzhou, all kinds of large-scale infrastructure projects are under construction, and the city's supporting facilities are improving day by day.
2. What are you specifically planning around Hangzhou?
A. In Hangzhou city planning, in the overall framework of “Digital China”,“Digital Zhejiang 2.0”and new smart city construction, we will further strengthen the efficiency of information construction, use emerging information technologies to turn Hangzhou into “the city of innovations and dynamics” and “the city with the high quality of life”. On the one hand, Hangzhou municipal government promotes the integrating development of the Internet, mobile Internet with other fields. On the other hand, it encourages the support of new technologies such as artificial intelligence, big data, Internet of Things, cloud computing, intelligent hardware and virtual reality to constantly generate new applications, new modes, new formats, new technologies and new services, and speed up the use of new information technologies. We will upgrade traditional industries, transform government functions and improve people's livelihood, and also accelerate the construction of digital Hangzhou.
3. What technological needs will the city have in 2040 and how do you plan for those now?
A. We imagine that, in 2040, the development of science and technology may reshape our lives. According to the most conservative predictions, there are more than 100 billion devices will be connected to the Internet of Things by then. That includes mobile devices, wearable devices, household appliances, medical devices, industrial detectors, surveillance cameras, cars, clothing and so on. All created and shared data will bring a new information revolution to our work and life. There are still many technological needs, such as unmanned driving, robots and automation systems, smartphones and cloud computing, quantum computing, VR/AR hybrid reality, advanced materials, 3D printing, human enhancement and so on. The development of new technologies requires talents, open and inclusive environment, so Hangzhou is exactly the kind of such advanced city.  We are tolerant and optimistic about innovation and technologies.
5. What can London learn from your plans?
A. It's more about the communication, investigation and learning from each other. In May of this year, "Zhejiang-London Technology and Innovation Cooperation Exchange Meeting" was successfully held in Hangzhou. During “Science and Technology Week”, The visiting delegation from London including British cutting-edge technology enterprises, visited representative enterprises of Zhejiang province and participated in a project roadshow to promote exchanges in science, technology, market and academic knowledge between Zhejiang and London. We know that London is one of the world's leading cities and an outstanding example of globalization.  We have been making great collaborative efforts in all kinds of science and technology industries, taking science and technology innovation as the core driving force of urban development, and striving to maintain the leading position in the field of science and technology and industry. We look forward to jointly promoting scientific and technological innovation and co-development through bilateral exchanges.
6. How does 5G specifically fit into your plans?
A. First, in terms of industrial carrier, yuhang district has a forward-looking layout of 5G industry. On January 20 this year, it officially launched the construction of 5G innovation park in hangzhou, China, to build 5G industrial cluster and strive to build the country's famous source, incubator and agglomeration of 5G future evolution technology and business application. Second, in terms of the basic environment construction of 5G network, the current 5G innovation park has achieved full coverage of 5G network. It is expected to open 250 sites by the end of this year, which will realize the full coverage of 5G network in the future science and technology city. Third, on the industrial platform, strengthen cooperation with national ministries and commissions, large institutions and well-known institutions, and build some platforms, such as the artificial intelligence (Hangzhou) research center of China communications institute, qualcomm joint innovation center and so on. Fourth, in terms of project introduction, we will carefully plan the investment invitation for subdivided industries. According to the early 5G industry development strategy, we will strive to introduce high-quality projects with industry driving and technology leading functions, focusing on the subdivided industries such as unmanned driving, 5G chip, AR/VR, ultra-hd video, uav and smart city.
7. What will 5G mean for businesses and residents in your city?
A. In the era of 5G, mobile networks will achieve faster speeds, wider coverage and lower latency. IoT application and interconnection of all things will bring more advanced business models for urban business development – a new intelligent business ecology. 5G can facilitate the digital transformation of traditional business, traditional commerce, integrate online and offline traffic with the advantages of intellectualization and interconnection of all things, link businesses and consumers, bring maximum benefits to businesses and consumers, and build an unprecedented intelligent business ecosystem. 5G technology will greatly change the way of life for ordinary people too. In the future, every scene in our life will be full of intelligence. I believe this day will not be too far away, let's look forward to it together.
8. How will connected devices, 5G and artificial intelligence change the way cities are planned and designed?
A. From the history of human development, we can see that the urban planning and construction are closely related to technological progress in different periods. In our original city, business, industry, schools, hospitals and other forms of business are relatively isolated. Now, after implementing of 5G, artificial intelligence, interconnection of all things, unmanned vehicle, edge computing and other technologies and applications, with the help of precise analysis of technology, this model of industrial isolation is expected to be changed, achieve integration and development, and lead to the birth of "urban brain". In addition, the existing urban planning can also be precisely adjusted at any time according to the needs of residents to create a more livable city
9. What are going to be some of the biggest changes - autonomous vehicles, supply chain management, sensors and manufacturing?
A. I think the breakthrough of 5G technology has the greatest impact on the industry of the Internet of Things. The emergence of 5G not only accelerates the network speed, but also increases the number of users up to 1 million per square kilometer, which can better meet the massive access scenarios such as the Internet of Things. With the growth of mass devices, the future 5G network will not only increase the level of communication between people, but also between people and things, and between things. It can support a large number of terminals at the same time, and make personalized and customized applications become common. Situational awareness technology can enable the future 5G network to actively, intelligently and timely send the required information to users.
10. You want to become China’s centre for fin-tech. What is your message to potential investors who may want to invest in the city’s infrastructure or into its start-ups?
A. The development of 5G and the new generation of AI will be based on the financial essence of the real economy development, promote the two-way optimization of industry and finance, accelerate the transformation, and transform the real economy into the frontier economy of information, intelligence and individualization. Great changes are taken place in the business model and lifestyle of the society with the development of new technologies. In the next age of fintech, technology will be the most important pillar. So, to support the development of new technologies, to invest in new technologies is to invest in the future.
11. How could we work jointly with you, along with our friends in London, to create a strong message about Hangzhou?
A. The UK is a good friend of China, a member of United Nations Security Council and one of the most developed countries in the world. As the capital of Britain, London is also the world’s leading financial and technology centre. Last month, Zhang Zhenfeng, Zhang Zhenfeng, Standing Committee of Hangzhou Municipal Committee, Secretary of Yuhang District Committee and Mei Jiansheng, Secretary of Party and Labor Committee of Future Sci-Tech City, visited London to discuss cooperation between London and Hangzhou Future Sci-Tech City. Hangzhou Future Sci-Tech City is one of the four future science and technology cities in China, with four focus industries including digital economy, bio economy, intelligent manufacturing and fintech, is striving to form the industrial development pattern of "science and technology innovation + headquarters economy. Of course, compared with London, there is still a lot of things to learn. Hangzhou Future Sci-Tech City also welcomes technological enterprises and financial institutions from London for cooperation.
Cellnex is an independent operator of wireless telecommunications and broadcasting infrastructures. Headquartered in Barcelona and listed on the Spanish stock exchange, the company has over 46,000 sites –including forecast roll-outs up to 2027- across seven western European countries: the UK, Netherlands, Switzerland, France, Ireland, Italy, and Spain. Cellnex recently acquired Irish telecoms group Cignal and plans to invest €60m in Ireland to deliver up to 600 new tower sites.
Q. Can you set out what Cellnex does a business?
A. Cellnex is an independent telecommunication infrastructure provider, and little by little, since our IPO in 2015, we have been growing in terms of capabilities and activity. This means moving from a more passive role, providing to the customers basic services to a more active role. As a result, for instance, we have now an IoT business line where we provide connectivity using proprietary solutions like SigFox technology and we also have a line working on DAS & Small Cells to service densely venues or populated areas. To give you an example of what this means in practice, think of how a mobile operator tries to cover an entire city. They put what we call macro cells onto big towers to collect the traffic from the customers and then share to their core network. However, in areas where there are a lot of people in the same place, that traffic is too much and the cells are not able to serve all the demands of the customers in that area. That's why you need to put smaller cells that you can put every 100 metres, or every 50 metres, depending on the configuration, and collect all this traffic. So, in short, what we do is provide the equipment for the mobile operators to use. As an example, in terms of IoT solutions, one of our latest projects was oriented to social housing where we provide services to these houses to control humidity, temperature and air quality. We also provide sensors to agriculture, to stadiums, to logistics, to position tracks – whatever (machine-to-machine) has to be connected.
Q. More broadly, how do you see 5G impacting real estate?
A. We see opportunities in two fronts: infrastructure and new use cases opportunities. By infrastructure we mean the architecture that you will have behind 5G that will enable services. For example, right now, not all the antennas are covered with fibre. But with 5G, antennas will need to be connected with fibre in order to be able to cope with all the traffic that is collected. In the past, fibre was meant only to reach the customer if needed, but now the infrastructure will need to be covered by fibre. As a result, the network of the mobile operator will change dramatically. We’re coming from a world that the mobile operator had everything centralised and they had all the coordinate work in one place or in two places. With 5G, that this is not possible and they will have to distribute the architecture. This means that they are going to have a little bit of capacity and they literally have processing capacity but also decision making closer to the antennas. So 5G will probably be organised by neighbourhood or at a district level.
Q. Is the future of wireless infrastructure neutral?
A. We strongly believe that that's the future - that’s already the situation in the US. Here in Europe, between 20 and 30% of the infrastructure is shared by mobile operators or owned by neutral operators like Cellnex, while in the States, around 70% to 80% is shared or owned by third external and independent companies. A neutral network brings efficiencies to the mobile operators as, rather than having to pay for their own infrastructure, they can share – thereby reducing investment and maintenance costs. Also, companies like us simplify the management of the landlords' and owners' discussion by offering different models. We can build the tower ourselves, that's a possibility. But there are some cases when we search for space, and we make a deal with the tower owner. Or, we buy the tower where the mobile operator has already that relationship with a landowner. In that case, we acquire the rights and we make the negotiations with them on behalf of the mobile operator. In most of the cases we close a deal with land owner on behalf of the operator because it simplifies everything for them.
Q. How is the relationship changing between mobile operators and landlords?
A. Mobile operators have many restrictions on investment and they are very selective where they require coverage. In the past, it was logical that the mobile operators would pay for that infrastructure to make sure that their users will have coverage in the area. But what’s happening more and more is that if a mall opens outside the city, mobile operators will demand payment for that infrastructure, so a mall’s customers can have mobile coverage. So we are seeing a movement towards a situation where landlord owners consider the coverage as something that they need to provide and pay for and not rely on the mobile operators to pay for it.
Q. Is there anything that UK politicians should be changing to support the roll out of 5G?
A. What we see is that UK politicians are already getting more conscious that they need to facilitate and they need to have similar regulation in the different cities across the UK.  Around six months ago, BT, through EE, invited us to a forum where the politicians wanted to understand what 5G would bring and there were attendees from Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and from several of the big cities in the UK. All of them talked about 5G implementation because they understood that they had to have a similar approach as the UK regulator who will be facilitating the use of public spaces for 5G roll out.  This makes sense: if you have four mobile operators in a country, and you receive four requests to have a tower in sites that are 100 metres from each other, it's more efficient to offer one single place, and maybe through an entity like us as a neutral host, than have four different sites.
Q. Where would you like your business to be in the next couple of years?
A. Our expectation is to grow into the seven European markets and we want to go from being purely a TowerCo, an entity that just provides and manages towers, to become an InfraCo, so an infrastructure partner. We want to plan and deploy with the mobile operators the set of infrastructures they need.  An example is a partnership agreement that we have reached with a mobile operator in France, where they have decided to sell us all their assets. They have sold all the central offices and all the metropolitan offices with a commitment that we will keep on growing if needed and add additional offices and new services, like edge computing, when required. We want to help mobile operators not only in the radio access network, but also helping them to migrate to 5G, bringing their core network and their equipment with them.
Jose Antonio Aranda,
Innovation and Product Strategy Director, Cellnex
Jose Antonio Aranda, discusses how neutral networks could play a key role in supporting the roll out of 5G.