In this tech-dependent society where people stream music on Spotify and use Netflix to watch films whenever they fancy, there’s a perpetual desire for faster connectivity and better reliability. Tech experts say 5G, which is next-generation mobile connectivity, could offer that. Among 5G’s perks is its speed, which could enable downloading a full-length movie in seconds.
Also, it reacts to other devices instantly, making latency a thing of the past. Experts point out how that factor could make it especially useful for devices connected to the Internet of Things (IoT) or if people eventually see self-driving, connected cars on Ireland’s roads. But, is the country ready for this highly advanced connectivity option?
Three Promises to Bring 5G Everywhere — Even Rural Ireland
Three is the second largest mobile operator in Ireland, and it has promised to make a €100 million per annum investment for its 5G network. Robert Finnegan, the company’s CEO, says 5G won’t be available for handsets for up to two years but mentions that fixed wireless access at 5G speeds could happen as soon as the end of this year.
Notably, Finnegan said the access won’t be limited to places like Dublin but will be equally as speedy and reliable in rural areas of Ireland. Some people are understandably dubious about that claim since there’s a stark contrast in broadband speeds in rural Ireland versus the more developed places.
According to a survey, three-quarters of respondents are happy with the broadband performance they get, but of those living in areas with slow speeds, half of them would consider relocating for improved internet access. Some businesses have already had to take that approach.
Many people think of 5G purely as a mobile network. However, Intel plans to offer the first laptops capable of 5G connections via embedded chips next year. If those arrive in Ireland and such connectivity is truly available throughout all of Ireland, they could be game changers for people currently struggling with sluggish internet speeds.
People are still in the exploratory phase of learning what 5G is and how it’ll benefit them. As more technology arrives that supports it, it’ll be even easier for them to discover its advantages.
Other Firms Will Offer 5G As Well
It’s important to clarify that Three will not be the only provider of 3G in Ireland. Last spring, four other companies also got permission to offer it as well by being the highest bidders at an auction, thereby each winning a 15-year license for making 5G available to the country.
The full deployment of 5G in Ireland is 2021, but as already mentioned, the technology will be present sooner than that. In February 2018, the Douglas Hyde Gallery at Dublin’s Trinity College was the site of a successful 5G demonstration presented by Vodafone and Ericcson. It showcased speeds of five gigabytes per second and latency of fewer than five milliseconds.
That event was the first successful trial of 5G in Ireland, indicating that the country is ready for what’s ahead. While speaking about the test, John Griffin, the head of Ericcson Ireland said future experiments with 5G would allow for even better service, meaning by the time there’s a commercial rollout in the country, 5G will be a well-tested technology.
The Communications Minister Understands There Are Coverage Gaps
The fact that several companies will take responsibility for bringing 5G coverage to Ireland is a positive thing, and Communications Minister Denis Naughten has said he wants 5G to be available to the country on a geographic basis rather than one focused on population.
Furthermore, Naughten also referenced the coverage troubles that frustrate some households and force businesses to move to other areas. He knows total coverage is not a feasible goal for Ireland but set his sights on ensuring internet access is available along all major roadways by the end of this year.
Early tests suggest Ireland can indeed roll out its 5G networks on time, and the government support for doing so is undoubtedly promising. However, despite good intentions, it remains to be seen whether the coverage will genuinely extend to the less-populated parts of Ireland. If it does, that will be an immense achievement appreciated by residents and business owners throughout the country.
Bio: Nathan Sykes is the founder of Finding an Outlet, where he writes about the latest in technology and business news and advice.