Canada, Regions to Invest $200M on 5G Research, Planning
Canadian, Ontario and Quebec governments plan to spend $200 million to help fund research into 5G wireless technology, the next-generation networks with download speeds 100 times faster than current 4G technology.
Tech analysts expect 5G to be arriving globally within the next few years. Already demonstrations of the new technology are being done at conferences.
What is 5G exactly, you ask? Here’s a primer: 1G was the ability to take phone calls; 2G allowed phones to send text messages; 3G enabled full internet access; 4G made the connection fast enough to stream videos; 5G will operate 100 times faster than 4G and will enable operation of autonomous cars, delivery drones and many other internet-connected devices. The catch is that it requires many more cell phone relay towers⎯one every 300 meters⎯to work effectively.
Technology and telecom companies around the world are already planning to spend billions to make sure they aren’t left behind, said Lawrence Surtees, a communications analyst with the research firm IDC, in an interview with CBC News.
Right now it might take an hour to download a short HD movie onto your phone, since 4G networks can only download about 1 gigabit per second, at most. On a 5G network the movie would download in seconds. City planners and governments plan to use the networks for instant data on traffic patterns, energy consumption, carbon footprints and many other uses.