Connectivity and the need for infrastructure is the buzz in the daily news, with 5G auctions taking place one after the other and announcements of fibre deals one after the other... and the need is universal.
Interestingly the most innovative solutions on connectivity which may ultimately benefit these shores are being explored in more challenging environments like remote refugee settlements or the developing world; and daring companies might rip the fruit of technologies developed and tried in such environments.
Recently I attended the TIP Summit in London and was most interested by solutions being developed in developing countries like Malaysia and Indonesia to overcome the difficulty of not being able to put fibre in very densed city environment in particular or in challenging natural environment with adverse climate.
Solutions using mm waves pole equipment that relays fibres from towers have now gone through successful trials and it would be interesting to see if they are more widely used to deliver the gigabites of speed required for online activities, streaming, smart cities and virtual reality, all of which would be crucial to keep our thirst for connectivity quench and bring tools to all to build a better future, even to those of us in most dire needs.
There is an ever-growing need for refugees to be connected, whether for staying in touch with loved ones, studying, or running a business. But the places where refugees live are often in under-developed areas that lack basic infrastructure. Meanwhile, refugees often struggle to afford handsets and mobile services or lack the necessary ID documents to get SIM cards. For telecommunications companies willing to innovate and to collaborate with governments and aid agencies, refugees represent a significant opportunity. In the past two years, mobile network operators have started working with UNHCR, national regulators and development actors to bring connectivity to some of the world’s most remote refugee settlements.