Will 5G Be So Fast It Will Replace Home Broadband?

Will 5G Be So Fast It Will Replace Home Broadband?
It would also lead cheaper bills, Say, mobile bosses...

5g technology

When a company invests billions in new technology, you'd expect it to shout loudly about its potential. That's why the UK the boss of mobile network Three is keen for everyone to believe his claim that 5G will be so fast and reliable it will replace broadband in homes.

If his boasts prove true, you might end up saving a lot of money by moving from fixed-line contracts to 5G. If not, it would be another case of technological reality failing to match
the hype

Dave Dyson, who's been head of Three UK since 2011, told BBC News that 5G will have enough capacity to cope with the amount of data people expect to use when browsing the web at home.

Currently being tested around the world, including in London, 5G can hit theoretical speeds of 10Gbps, letting you download movies in seconds (though real-life speeds will be slower). It will eventually replace 4G, which peaks at 100Mbps - a hundred times slower.

5G is needed because it's predicted that by 2025 people will use 13 times as much mobile data as today. Dyson sees it as a genuine alternative to fiber-tothe- home broadband (FTTH) for most people, partly because it'll be much cheaper.

FTTH is more expensive because companies have to recoup the money spent digging up roads to lay cables. It's much cheaper and quicker to provide that connectivity via a wireless
connection, Dyson said.

At the moment, only five per cent of UK premises can get FTTH broadband. The Government has set a target of 2033 for rolling it out to all homes and businesses.

One of the benefits of 5G's larger capacity is that it lets more people use it for broadband without speeds slowing down.

That contrasts with Relish, Threes 4G-based "unlimited data" home broadband service in London and Swindon, which has to limit the number of customers in order to keep the service running smoothly.

But recent trials in London have revealed problems with the practicalities of 5G. Rooftop sites have needed to be significantly strengthened to carry 5G antennae- which weigh around 50kg. Installing them will take longer as companies seek planning permission to upgrade the sites.

5G's reliability has also been questioned. Andrew Ferguson from the news website, Thinkbroadband said FTTH will "beat 5G because it doesn't rely on mobile signals that drop out "due to a bus passing the home". It doesn't matter how fast 5G is if you can't guarantee you'll stay connected without interruption.

We'll soon have some idea whether 5G will live up to the hype In early November EE started providing 5G to homes and businesses in nine areas in London, before bringing it to more major cities next summer.

Three plans to launch a 5G service around the same time having recently said it will spend £2 billion on developing the technology Vodafone has also begun trials in seven cities
across the UK, while 02 has invited every FTSE 100 company to test it.

Together, these networks splashed out £1.4 billion to win parts of the UK's 5G radio spectrum, twice what City analysts thought they would.

Such a huge gamble will pay off only if they can convince millions of people to switch from fiber broadband. Their problem is that for years the public has been told fiber is the
future Persuading them otherwise will prove difficult.