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A New Urban India Will Be Created by 5G

Context:

  • According to research firm Techarc, as of January 25, more than 25% of India’s population was 5G-enabled. According to the report, this 25.2% of the population is spread out across 189 different areas of the nation.
    • According to dashboard data, live 5G networks cover 25.2% of India’s population, making the technology accessible in 1 out of every 4 cities in the nation.

Relevance:

GS Paper-3: Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life.

Mains Question

Urban space organisation and the nature of production and communication could change as a result of 5G. Discuss (150 words)


Important Takeaways:

  • 5G technology is anticipated to fuel significant advancements and economic growth, but realising its full potential necessitates understanding of related fields like the Internet of Things, automation, virtual reality, and Web 3.
  • Users have higher expectations for better communication and faster data access. All of those things and more are promised by 5G, but in the years before it is fully realised, it is important to think about how the application of 5G technology will affect our spaces and our perception of what it means to be “urban.”

Future of Urbanization:

  • When considering how 5G will affect the design and planning of future urban environments in India, the concept of small, affluent islands fueled by technological advancement is suggested.
    • These islands can be thought of as small, connected, and well-equipped urban centres centred on one or more 5G-enabled social or economic activities.
    • The development of these tiny, affluent islands, fueled by 5G technology, is likely to determine how India’s urbanisation will proceed in the future.
  • This prediction is based on the knowledge that 5G will transform many economic activities, alter how people interact professionally, necessitate the localization of specific tasks, and require the development of specific infrastructure.

The Technology:

  • The excitement surrounding 5G stems not only from the speed improvements it offers compared to earlier generations of mobile networks, but also from the recent sharp rise in mobile users.
    • These users call for more data, faster data access, and improved communication. With its high speed and low delay, 5G is anticipated to meet these demands.
    • As a result, IoT (Internet of Things) and machine-to-machine communication will become widely used, allowing connected devices to exchange real-time data.
  • The adoption of edge computing will be sparked by the need for real-time processing of the vast amounts of data generated by these devices.
  • This indicates that data processing must take place as close to the source as is practical. Small or micro data centres may need to be built close to the site where the data is generated, such as by 5G towers, in order to accomplish this.
    • The significant reduction in communication lag may increase the viability and efficiency of co-working in virtual reality.
  • 5G-enabled 3D simulations and virtual environments might make it possible for staff members to connect and work together in a way that resembles casual interactions.
    • This might lessen the effects of “Zoom fatigue,” which is brought on by the current reliance on video conferencing. Additionally, the remote work capabilities of 5G could reduce the importance of a person’s physical location.
  • 5G is not only intended for the consumer market; it is also built to support a wide range of industries, including food production, medical care, transportation, and welfare service delivery, among others.
  • This means that for 5G to be successful and become economically viable, it needs to monetize its use in businesses in addition to consumer adoption.
  • 5G’s ability to deliver time-sensitive communication could revolutionise industries like manufacturing.
    • A case in point is the recent deployment of a captive 5G network at Mahindra’s Chakan auto manufacturing facility.
    • Using high frequency bandwidth, which can carry a lot of data per unit of time, will greatly help this property.

Way Forward

  • The various 5G aspects that were covered above provide fascinating perspectives on how cities will develop in the future.
  • It will be necessary to establish hubs with 5G-propelled economic units, network infrastructure, and social provisions for the employees and their families, or what we refer to as the “5G islands.” These islands could take the form of townships tailored to employees in remote-working sectors or be centred on automatic or semi-automatic industrial clusters; oppo
    • These islands may be built on top of existing cities or they may be positioned close to larger cities, much like the current satellite cities.
  • The underutilised peri-urban areas may even see the development of these townships.

Conclusion

  • The adoption of 5G-specific applications that make use of higher frequency bands will open up a variety of new growth prospects for the nation.
    • If sound planning techniques are used, this new form of urbanisation can also be resilient and sustainable.
  • Compact urbanisation can be combined with a variety of land uses and undeveloped natural areas in between to reduce the amount of land needed per resident and per job.
    • Urban planners and policymakers must consider how 5G will affect urbanisation as it happens in order to create well-planned, effective, sustainable, and resilient urban systems in the future.

February 2024
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