by Marco Volpato
MONACO. Today we are used to have easy access to places, technologies, and transportation. Indeed, nobody likes the big inconvenience when streaming a TV show Internet connection cuts out or the screen starts to “buffer”. Today this happens everywhere in the technologically advanced world. The next time your favorite show buffers, think about how some people don’t have access to fast internet or even a connection at all. In a time when technology rules almost everything we do, it’s hard to believe that a governmental system can lack proper access to the internet to provide people and especially students with information they need. For instance reports indicate that there’s a massive divide when it comes to rural and urban internet access rates. This happens everywhere in most part of the rural areas worldwide. Well, that could finally be changing with the emergence of the next generation of wireless technology: 5G. 5G promises to increase speeds, coverage, and responsiveness of wireless networks. The technology won’t need to run cables or lines underground, which is one of the reasons someone can’t get internet.
As for Europe, the main objective of the study “Broadband coverage in Europe 2019-2021” is made to monitor the progress in the deployment of broadband networks, i.e. to measure primarily the household coverage of different fixed and wireless broadband technologies with a special focus on next generation access technologies and very high capacity broadband. The first data have been collected as of the middle of the year (2019 in the first year). On the deadline in May 2019 for the study reference Smart 2019/2020 the European Commission released the results of the 2019 Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI), which monitors Europe’s overall digital performance and tracks the progress of EU countries with respect to their digital competitiveness. Countries that have set up ambitious targets in line with the EU Digital Single Market Strategy and combined them with adapted investment, achieved a better performance in a relatively short period of time. This is one of the main conclusions of this year’s Digital Economy and Society Index .
However, the fact that the largest EU economies are not digital frontrunners indicates that the speed of digital transformation must accelerate, in order for the EU to stay competitive at world level. Digital technology is rapidly transforming the world’s economies and societies. However Europe can pride itself on the advances that have come to life because of certain technologies shouldn’t be excluding anyone from being a part of these advances. No area should be left behind or kept in the dark. The amount of work that would need to be done would outweigh the monetary return. According to a BusinessWire report about the global 5G market (2019–2025), the market is expected to reach $277 billion by 2025 — that’s a CAGR of 111% during 2019 through 2025. 5G is a ground breaking technology, and researchers and analysts already see a bright and prosperous future ahead. It has the capability of moving the world toward hyper-connectivity, which will result in a massive economic valuation. A 5G network will be designed to connect a far greater number of devices than a traditional cellular network. Yes, it’ll be a few years before 5G fully replaces 4G, but the opportunities that will be coming along because of this newer and faster technology will be very rare. As for Monaco, before an audience including Minister of State Serge Telle, government ministers Marie-Pierre Gramaglia, Jean Castellini and Patrice Cellario, Country Chief Digital Officer Frédéric Genta, majority shareholder Xavier Niel, Deputy Chairman of Huawei Guo Ping, numerous Monegasque personalities and several of its private and corporate clients, Monaco Telecom announced on Tuesday 9 July that full 5G coverage of Monegasque territory had been achieved.
The 5G roll-out is the first pillar of the Extended Monaco program led by the Prince’s Government, which seeks to bring Monaco into the digital age. Frédéric Genta, Country Chief Digital Officer, highlighted the enormous change that 5G will bring about: “5G is not simply an improved version of 4G, it represents a paradigm shift. Whereas all of the previous generations focused on telecommunications and exchanges between individuals, 5G is shaping the integration of digital technology into every part of our society and our economy. Energy, health, media and transport will all be transformed thanks to 5G… The technology offers enormous opportunities for the Principality, its residents, its public policies and its economy, and these will benefit everyone.” For his part, Monaco Telecom CEO Martin Péronnet was unable to hide the pride felt by the Monegasque operator: “5G is a major innovation, reflecting Monaco Telecom’s leadership. This new technology is essential if we are to offer our clients better service and meet their growing expectations for high-speed mobile access”he said. “The future applications of 5G in the everyday lives of Monegasques look extremely promising. In parallel with the launch of 5G, Monaco Telecom is continuing to roll out its fibre network in order to deliver service quality that is acknowledged as the best in the world. This is our goal for the company and our mission as the national operator.” The Principality of Monaco is the first European State whose territory is entirely covered by the fifth generation (5G) mobile network. Designed and installed by Chinese giant Huawei Technologies, the new infrastructure ‘can serve as a model, both for other telecommunications operators and for other states,’ said its executive director, Guo Ping. He explained that Monaco has a small territory, which makes it a ‘real showcase in a whole range of digital sectors, particularly connecting the development of 5G networks with the Intelligent Cities technology program.” According to The Monaco Telecom President Etienne Franzi, the deployment of the network in the Principality is part of a plan to expand the use of digital technologies in the independent city-state, located on the Mediterranean coast of France. For the Huawei executives, the new network will allow Monaco to wirelessly link a number of transport-related services and ensure public safety. China’s telecommunications companies, especially Huawei, are at the forefront of developing equipment and applications for the new technology. While the United States and Europe are in the stage of assembling and commissioning the 5G networks, China is advancing in concrete implementations of the technology in daily life. On strengthening China-Monaco relations we recall that last March 2019 Chinese President Xi Jinping was paying a state visit to Monaco, the first by a Chinese president to the European country. He held talks with Prince Albert II and said that since China and Monaco established diplomatic relations more than 20 years ago, the two sides have always treated each other as equals with sincerity and friendship. Xi said China-Monaco relations are developing steadily, with bilateral practical cooperation keeping pace with the times and taking the lead in China-Europe cooperation in the fields of environmental protection, telecommunications and mobile payment. Xi said China and Monaco have set a fine example of friendly exchanges between countries that are different in size and have different historical and cultural backgrounds and social systems. The Chinese president said the exchange of visits between him and Prince Albert II in about half a year demonstrated the high level of China-Monaco ties. He called on the two sides to firmly grasp the correct direction of bilateral relations, constantly consolidate traditional friendship and political mutual trust, and strengthen communication, coordination and mutual support in the United Nations and on international affairs. “Both sides should adhere to openness and cooperation and pursue more win-win results”, Xi said, adding that China welcomes Monaco to actively participate in the joint development of the Belt and Road.
Calling on the two sides to elevate cooperation on environmental protection, Xi said the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation is welcome to conduct public-service activities in China aimed at environmental protection, so as to continuously enrich cultural and people-to-people exchanges. Describing Xi’s visit as a “historic” one, Prince Albert II said Monaco is willing to expand cooperation with China in such fields as science and technology, innovation, ecological and environmental protection, wildlife conservation, and renewable energy. The prince said Monaco highly appreciates China’s role in international affairs such as climate change and stands ready to support China in hosting the 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity next year. He also wished the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics success. Before the talks, Prince Albert II held a grand welcome ceremony for Xi.