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May 28, 2021

The next digital revolution

As we hurtle headlong into the Fourth Industrial Revolution, technology advances every day and at a rapid pace. One of the major catalysts of this progress is the ongoing rollout of 5G connectivity.

In mid-May, Communications Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams announced that various stakeholders had committed R27 billion to the deployment and rollout of 5G and fibre, particularly targeting underserved areas.

The extent to which 5G will contribute toward the technological advancements of the coming years should not be underestimated. According to Forbes Magazine, 5G offers private users, businesses, and the public sector lightning-fast digital capabilities and the ability to connect a truly massive number of devices, people, buildings and cars in new and not-yet-imagined ways.

A simple way to understand the potential of 5G is to imagine downloading a high-resolution 10 gigabyte move in the same amount of time it takes to receive a text message.

What this means for the public sector

For government, utilising a technology that’s 100 times faster than any of its predecessors means greater efficiency, and the power to seamlessly transmit and share huge amounts of government data simply and wirelessly.

According to Tony Bartlett, Director of Data Centre Compute at Dell Technologies, there are three key features of 5G which will make it a powerful tool across most sectors and industries. These are higher bandwidth, lower latency, and greater density of devices in a given area.

In particular, higher bandwidth creates more accessibility, while lower latency ensures a faster response time – both of which are critical for any digitally-transformed government or society’s evolution. While greater device density will allow for there to be more devices connected per square kilometre, this in turn facilitates an interconnectedness of devices-to-devices. Think self-driving cars, self-regulating municipal services and smart city infrastructure, and device-to-human interfaces, all of which are essential to building the cities and societies of the future.

Serving Disadvantaged Communities

While we can dream about all the potential that 5G offers, the most important aspect of 5G, as announced by the minister, is that of serving rural and disadvantaged communities.

Unlimited, fast, and affordable internet will provide entrepreneurs, school children, students, and working adults with a much-needed platform to start and run businesses, learn remotely, or upskill themselves through the power of the world wide web and the information and services it grants access to.

When barriers to accessing the internet don’t exist, the possibilities are truly endless. We look forward to contributing to the brighter future that 5G will no doubt bring about