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NetPMD’s Three Predictions for 2022

You thought 2020 was like no other. And then 2021 jumps on the bandwagon. So, what does 2022 hold for us all?

In the world of fibre networks, one thing’s for sure: fibre is one of life’s necessities. And the global pandemic has thrown up new perspectives on how it can enable so much more than communication.

Read our predictions for 2022. The spoiler is that fibre remains front and centre of all our lives. But, fibre networks must be designed and deployed to the premises – and at a city-wide level – to truly maximise on their ability to revolutionise how we live and work.

1. Fibre networks will facilitate a surge in bandwidth and coverage

The move to ubiquitous high bandwidth has already happened. And, most of us don’t even think about it.

A few years ago, the average end-user wouldn’t have ever imagined they’d be running their small business over a video call from their home office. After all, video calls were reserved for the boardrooms of blue-chip companies. However, the coronavirus lockdowns have resulted in even the most technically inexperienced to adopt video conferencing as a way of life.

In 2022, the UK will see a shift from deploying new, one gigabit connections to a premise – to ten gigabit connections to a premise. Providing a tenfold increase in speed. That’s our first prediction. This will become the default for many of the vendors that our netpmd team works with.

“I’m excited for 2022. Whatever happens, fibre networks will be at the heart of helping to solve big environmental and social problems. ”
STUART MCNEIL

The commercial model supports this move too. Designing and installing fibre networks that facilitate faster speeds is far more efficient. Today’s fibre network infrastructure investors are looking at much longer-term returns from their investments – as opposed to traditional short-term, average revenues per user (ARPU) goals – and are therefore able to finance city-wide deployments.

Stuart McNeil, our chief information officer, says: “This bandwidth increase will probably go relatively unnoticed for the average end user of a fibre network. But, the associated cost reductions mean larger fibre to the home deployments become more affordable.

“Combined with infrastructure funding approaches, there’ll be a move away from piecemeal deployments, to city-wide builds. These all-inclusive approaches also help to close digital divides.”

2. Fibre networks will help strengthen the UK workforce

We all forget that how we work is predicated on fibre networks. And this will help to further bolster the UK workforce going forward. That’s our second prediction for 2022.

With UK job vacancies at a record high of 2.7 million, it’s definitely a job-seekers market out there. Employers are having to work harder than ever to attract new talent, by offering a better and bespoke employee experience.

Already, businesses are flagging the skills gap. Car manufacturing bosses say it could potentially stop them from producing the volume of electric vehicles necessary to support the UK government’s ban of selling new petrol and diesel vehicles by 2030.

The fibre networks that we design – bring faster speeds, bigger bandwidth, and greater technology integration to cities. This enables businesses to exploit technology to tap into global talent pools, rather than those geographically closer to their offices.

Emerging technologies help employers to tailor their offering to a new type of job seeker. A job seeker that’s concerned with reducing their impact on the environment by cutting down on travel. A job seeker that – since Covid-19 – isn’t interested in putting work above all else.

Even in the technology sector itself, face-to-face roles are becoming superfluous. Take for example, the task of pre-configuring equipment before deployment. Traditionally, this would need everybody onsite. Now, many of those tasks can be done remotely.

Allowing employees to work anywhere at any time is what GPON technologies facilitate. Stuart adds: “Our network design team often shares gigabytes of geographical data between each other, every day! We’ve almost forgotten that five years ago, we couldn’t do it that way. We’d all have to be together in our Oswestry HQ to pore over that data in a meeting room.

“Now, hybrid working is the default for us. Recognising that sometimes we need to be physically together, and sometimes we can work remotely. Liaising with our US partners means working across time zones. Our working hours are blurred too. But, working from home helps to redress the work-life balance.

“We’ve had to change our resourcing model to lure in the very best fibre network designers and project managers. It makes sense that more and more organisations will be doing this in 2022 and beyond.”

3. Fibre networks will help to accelerate a greener landscape

The pressure is building in the race to net zero. And fibre networks underpin much of the progress that can be made. In fact, we believe they’ll be even more critical to expediting environmental progress in 2022.

This year, COP26 – the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference – generated much needed noise around climate change action.

And what’s more, The Environment Act became UK law. Through government legislation, this will incentivise organisations to help improve air and water quality, manage waste better, increase recycling levels, slow down the decline of species, and enhance the natural environment.

Fibre infrastructure is one very important enabler to making these environmental goals become a reality. Why? Because many of them will be technology-led.

Take the water industry for example. By 2050, there’s probably going to be a 59% hike in winter rainfall due to climate change. This will undoubtedly increase the volume of flooding events that cause destruction, erode our coasts, and increase the propensity of pollution incidents.

Stuart says: “Fibre networks are integral to how we adapt to climate change impacts and risks.
Apps alerting communities to flooding, cutting-edge flood forecasting tools, and sewer sensors on manholes – all rely on cleverly designed fibre networks across entire regions.

“Yes, there can be pockets of victories in silos, but integrating technology within a whole geographical area is where bigger and longer-term environmental wins can be achieved.”

Of course, the ability to properly manage energy consumption and expenditure in a more efficient way, is also highly dependent on city-wide fibre networks. Cities that are fully connected and integrated, can adapt to the environment we live in, helping to lower emissions and save precious resources.

Stuart summarises: “I’m excited for 2022. Whatever happens, fibre networks will be at the heart of helping to solve big environmental and social problems. It makes what we do more important than ever before.”

We are NetPMD

We design, install, and integrate fibre networks that enable smart cities to operate optimally in the modern world. As our name suggests, we offer you independent project management and design expertise, to help you close the digital divide in your communities.

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Stuart McNeil

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