Monday 24 August 2020

Leveraging Streetlights for the Digital Future

If you are a regular reader of this blog then you will know we love lamp posts, street lights and poles. There are quite a few posts whose references you can find at the end of this post.

The mmWave Networks group at Telecom Infra Project (TIP) have recently released a new whitepaper, Leveraging Streetlights for the Digital Future. Street fixtures like lamp posts, light poles, traffic signals and other vertically-oriented assets that provide line of sight to targeted facilities and residential areas were identified as having a huge potential for rapid deployment of high speed future broadband networks (including 5G) in the TIP Playbook for Smart Cities.

This new whitepaper looks at "Deployment of high capacity urban mobile networks and smart city applications converges on assets in the public space, such as streetlights. This study and analysis deepens the understanding of the obstacles to deploying on streetlights today and points to possible pathways to accessing such assets to enable fast and flexible deployments"

Quoting from the whitepaper:

In a Digital Networks Working Group handbook by the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (Germany), streetlighting infrastructure has been identified as being very suitable in comparison to other street fixtures.

Deutsche Telekom initiated a study to explore such fixtures and possible pathways to accessing them. Before tackling any challenges, we wanted to understand what the "landscape of the players' ecosystem" looks like, what drives it, what slows it down or stops it from moving, how it works today, and what may need to change.

We did this specifically for our German home market, but feel confident that the study results can serve as pointers for the challenges and opportunities this asset poses for many other markets. We also believe the political and legal challenges will be very similar for similar assets apart from streetlights.

The study set out to describe the rules and regulations of public administration, public economy, and public law to which this infrastructure is subject, as well as to identify challenges, opportunities, and potential for its future design.

We chose a design thinking approach because we need to understand the players and stakeholders who control this infrastructure. And we wanted to undertake this before assessing what can and should be done with these potential assets to enable comprehensive broadband coverage and smart city development.

The whitepaper is available here.

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