Wi-Fi for Affordable Broadband & 5G in Rural Areas
Keywords:Broadband, Wi-Fi, 5G
The importance of Internet in our lives today cannot be overemphasized. So much so that access to Internet has been declared a fundamental right of citizens in several countries such as Finland, Spain, and Greece . In most of the developed countries, high-speed Internet connectivity is enabled through wired communication infrastructure such as Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTH) and Very high bit-rate Digital Subscriber Line (VDSL). Unfortunately, the situation is not particularly encouraging in developing countries due to non-availability of such a pervasive communication infrastructure. The difference in the fiber-deployed-to-population ratio across developed and developing countries further underscores this disparity; while this ratio is 1.2 in USA, it is barely 0.1 in India . Owing to this inadequacy of fiber/DSL availability, cellular access technology has emerged as the primary broadband access mechanism in developing countries.
However, the penetration of cellular network is limited in rural areas as its deployment becomes unviable due to challenges such as low average revenue per user, sparse population density, and intermittent availability of electricity. This situation leaves majority of the rural people unconnected thereby creating a massive rural urban digital divide. The next generation cellular system along with the use of unlicensed Wi-Fi Technology can bridge this divide if we overcome the above-mentioned challenges. However, since the Fifth Generation (5G) cellular technology has focus on requirements such as 10 Gbps data rate, 1 ms latency, and very high speed mobility, the problems of coverage and affordability are likely to persist, further widening the digital divide . This article explains how Wi-Fi is being used for affordable high speed broadband in rural areas. A successfully implemented case study of Jharkhand state is also presented, and it can be adopted as reliable business model for 5G or 5G type services in rural areas .
Broadband Infrastructure for Transforming India https://www2.deloitte.com/in/en/pages/technology-media-andtelecommunications/articles/broadband-infrastructure-for-transformingindia.html
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