Yesterday the first parliamentary inquiry into 5G commenced. The inquiry saw 14 recommendations that focused on how to how to accelerate 5G rollout across Australia, rather than banning 5G (like some crazies would have them do).
Having faster, more ubiquitous access to mobile data can only be a massive net positive for our country and it is great to see this framed as an opportunity for Australia.
Before you ask, no 5G is not going to make the NBN redundant, rather enhance it. We need data wherever we go, not just in our homes. The reality is data quotas on mobile networks are very different and at home, we consume many, many times the volume we do while out and about.
Personally, my FTTP plan from Aussie Broadband has unlimited data each month for less than $100pm. Most months we chew through 2-300GB of data. On the mobile, I pay Telstra around $50pm to access their 4G network and have a data quote of around 1/10th of that, at just 20GB per month.
5G is seen as a premium service right now, delivering hundreds of Mbps but it is worth remembering this is likely to reduce over time as more people connect on 5G. Many mobile providers are pricing 5G plans accordingly and typically costs more per month than 4G, however over time, 5G will be the new normal.
One of the biggest advantages of 5G is its ability to deliver low latency. That opens the door to more use cases, particularly real-time scenarios like video conferencing, gaming or even VR.
House of Representatives Communications and the Arts Committee Chair Dr David Gillespie says the inquiry saw the need for 5G to connect Australia and allow for a wave of innovation and opportunities not seen before.
The Committee has made 14 recommendations, including:
- The speedy allocation of spectrum needed for 5G;
- Reviews of the low impact facilities framework for the 5G environment, and carrier powers and immunities, particularly the timeframes for raising objections;
- Better management of ageing and redundant mobile network infrastructure and equipment;
- A focus on road and transport safety standards, with carriers working alongside state and territory road and transport authorities;
- The installation of multiuser infrastructure, and conducting of 5G trials, in rural and regional areas;
- The Australian Government encourage manufacturing of 5G infrastructure in Australia, with potential partnerships with the United Kingdom, United States of America, New Zealand and Canada;
- The establishment of a 5G R&D Innovation Fund;
- A focus on Cyber Supply Chain Risk Management, including a review of the current legislative arrangements for network and data security for the supply of 5G equipment;
- Better consultation between Australian Government agencies and members of the community concerned about the deployment of 5G;
- A focus on ensuring that the ICT workforce is appropriately skilled, by lifting apprenticeships and working with curriculum-setters;
- Campaigns to increase local government and enterprise awareness of 5G.
“The Committee heard that Australia has the opportunity to be a 5G world leader. A number of organisations told us that 5G is essential if we are to be a global competitor in food and wine production, entertainment, automated vehicles and IT, among other sectors.
We also heard that there is a high level of concern among some members of the community who are worried that 5G is a risk to human health. The Committee received assurances from Australian Government agencies and researchers that 5G is a safe technology, and the safety standards in place are more than able to make sure that health is not affected when 5G is deployed”.
Information about the inquiry may be found on the Committee’s webpage.