In Blog

Global ICT is a paradox: wide and vast and narrow and deep all at the same time.

Many still do not see universal access. Some see expensive/limited availability. But, astonishingly, more than 300 million people in 49 countries have 1Gbps service. Countries continue to wrestle with what incentives and subsidies rural broadband rollout programs should have.

PTC’19: From Pipes to Platforms, the Pacific Rim’s most significant annual industry event, will be looking at the many aspects of this, and what progress could and should happen.

Those numbers of the superconnected will hopefully continue to increase as new systems of all kinds are conceived and deployed. New NGSO satellite constellations are likely heading up. The subsea industry by common consensus is in the middle of one of its greatest ever boom times with a plethora of projects reaching out. In this technology wave, all world regions are represented, including Pacific Islands and new North/South routes. As you read this, amongst many new systems, a cable ship is traversing the Pacific, connecting Tahiti to the Marquesas on the Natitua system. By August, Hao in French Polynesia had been linked and its population set to join the broadband world.

What does all this leave behind? Some ponder the possibility that older subsea cables will likely become “extinct.” It’s a realistic prospect given the dynamism of the industry and the rate of build over the last few years.

Backbone connectivity is crucial, but in this era, it seems that 5G is getting the headlines and political attention.

Spectrum remains a critical regulatory issue and one that has seen many countries allocate aggressively in readiness for new services. In the US, considered to be slightly lagging by some observers in the 5G stakes, the FCC announced first 5G spectrum auctions, procedures and rules for 24GHz and 28GHz. As with other major jurisdictions, FCC has argued spectrum is just one part of the roadmap, and has eased important street and pole level access rules.

The “race” to 5G may continue, but it’s also arguably a race to use it for economic gain around the world. And the (predicted) numbers are getting bigger and bigger. In India, a team of government advisors suggested 5G could have USD 1 trillion of economic impact in the country by 2035. Amongst the slew of commentaries this summer emphasizing what could happen came a report from Deloitte suggesting that countries that were 5G leaders and first adopters could sustain “more than a decade” of competitive advantage.

Back in the industry, actual money might soon start flowing as systems reach the marketplace. Commentators expect the major vendors to announce a stream of the big contract wins they need to sustain their 5G efforts for service provider customers over the coming months.

Technology and technology access in such heated environments will likely become a primary concern at operational and political levels.

A particularly thorny issue has been how far foreign companies can access US firms. The US has finally given its CFIUS legislation a long promised overhaul in the shape of FIRRMA. On closer analysis, some commentators argue the final package is less draconian than it might have been. Judge for yourself. Tara Giunta from Paul Hastings LLP gave us a headsup of the relationship of CFIUS to ICT matters in Washington in a PTC podcast earlier this year.

At the forefront of massive change, regulators will be confronting complex realities in the years to come. In a recent PTC podcast, Nerida O’Loughlin, Chair of ACMA in Australia, gave us her insights on changing regulatory demands. We also heard from Harinderpal Singh Grewal of the IMDA in Singapore on the upcoming issues for the regulator in spectrum coordination and 5G policy.

More waves in the future?
AI may represent another complex and imminent technology wave. In the big picture, much as in 5G, national aspirations count and various indexes see the coming wave of AI as being dominated by Asia-Pacific economies.

AI will probably have major impact on network architectures and perhaps we will likely see far more distributed systems in the datacenter world. One view sees hybrid ready edge datacenters to resolve bandwidth and compute challenges in what will be highly process intensive applications. Powering datacenters efficiently is becoming an increasingly important factor. The PTC blog looked at microgrids as a future development designed for this distributed environment.

Some muse a massive extension of big data into many areas. The PTC blog looked at its impact on the energy industry. Another intriguing idea suggests providers in the entertainment industry will be heavily into big data and analytics as they may look to predict and match audiences and movies. The next blockbuster you like in your local theatre may not be such a surprise (at least to the producer) after all.

PTC events and initiatives
These are big issues and need the kind of across the board analysis PTC offers. Mark your calendar for PTC’19.

Meanwhile, scheduled for 20-21 September 2018 in Bangkok, the PTC Academy Thailand: Navigating Change will give rising industry executives fast track skills for the international ICT environment. Registration is limited to 30 participants to maximize face-to-face contact.

It’s not too early to be thinking about applying for research awards that will be presented at PTC’19. On offer: travel and subsidence funding, and unrivalled exposure to world-class professionals.

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