Our Top Three Predictions for Full Fibre in 2023
In recent times, within the FttX industry, ‘change’ has become “the norm” – but what are our predictions for full fibre in 2023?
What we couldn’t have predicted is the speed and nature of the change were seeing currently. The pandemic served as a catalyst for radical change in our industry giving true meaning to the need for fibre rollout. With the accelerated deployment of technologies like 5G, the Internet of Things (IoT), AI, machine learning and more, you have a recipe for transformation both in business and society during 2023. It’s understandable, therefore, that we’ve seen a proliferation of full fibre networks in the UK that are transforming lives.
Networking organisations are experiencing huge transformation and need to constantly re-evaluate their offer. The real threat is for those companies who fail to adapt and evolve.
So where will we go from here in 2023? What do we predict will be the key trends that network companies need to watch in 2023 to thrive and survive this fast-changing landscape?
1 The need to tackle climate change will propel faster fibre rollout
Governments across the globe are faced with a myriad of environmental challenges, from extreme weather to power outages, wildfires and droughts. Network resilience and robust disaster response is more important than ever as a key component in tackling these extreme events in delivering business continuity.
Not only is full fibre broadband a key tool in mitigating the impact of extreme weather episodes, but when coupled with AI and IoT, full fibre broadband will help to tackle climate change and reduce carbon emissions.
Full fibre broadband has the potential to propel the economy towards net zero in the future. From eliminating waste and pollution from business processes, to reusing components and materials, and by making better use of renewable resources.
Entrepreneurs and investors are finding opportunities within today’s “circular” economy enabled by smart technology, as well as investing in technologies that help reduce carbon emissions. However, smart or connected devices are only as good as the networks they run on, and full fibre allows these devices to come into their own. For example, sensors can now be deployed to monitor air pollution, water levels, flood defences and even to manage road traffic systems. With full fibre, the possibilities are endless.
And what’s more, in a recent report, Talk Talk claim that using full fibre networks could see an 80% improvement in energy efficiency compared with existing copper-based services. Needing less exchanges, less engineer journeys and with the ability to transmit signals over far greater distances, full fibre is a much more energy efficient way to deliver broadband services.
2 The global skills gap will drive the need for innovative thinking
Everyone in the technology and telecoms sectors is aware of the significant talent gaps existing at all levels, from the boardroom to the front-line. There is no simple solution to hiring new employees and retraining current staff, but with digital transformation top of the agenda across most organisations, there is a need to transform businesses through automation rather than hiring expensive employees.
Even with the economic downtown expected in 2023, there will be no easy solution to the skills gap: competition for skilled network designers, technical experts and project managers will continue to be a challenge. For broadband network operators, field engineering roles have changed significantly in responsibilities over the last decade, with a new generation of engineers that are tech savvy and hungry for innovation. Companies that offer hybrid working, generous salaries and benefits, and who build a model based on both salaried staff, as well as skilled contactors, will thrive and survive in 2023.
3 Telecommunications Security Act 2021
New legislation regarding a new telecoms security framework means UK Providers will need to comply with tighter security policies moving forward. Telecommunications provider duties will include identifying, reducing and preparing for security compromises, with the ability to remedy or mitigate their adverse effects.
The act also provides new powers for the Government to make regulations setting out specific security measures to be taken by providers. The framework includes new powers to issue codes of practice containing technical guidance on how public telecommunications providers can meet their legal obligations.
What is being done and why?
The UK’s future prosperity rests on the security and resilience of the public electronic communications networks and services that connect us. Such networks and services are fundamental to supporting our modern quality of life. Public telecommunications providers deliver the connectivity that enables people, communities and businesses to carry out their daily activities across the UK. Disruption to those activities would undermine the normal functioning of our society and public order. Yet as technologies evolve, new threats to those networks and services are emerging. The UK Telecoms Supply Chain Review, conducted between 2018 and 2019, found that industry security practices were inadequate to address growing risks. These practices were in turn driven by a lack of incentives to manage risk, including the inability of the regulatory framework to drive improvements in cyber security.
The Telecommunications (Security) Act 2021 established a new telecoms security framework to enable the Government, Ofcom and the industry to address the most pressing risks to networks and services.
Security risks to networks and services can never be completely prevented: but these measures will ensure public telecoms providers in the UK take the right steps to protect their public networks and services against security threats. Importantly, the measures have been informed by extensive and detailed analysis of the security of the telecoms sector carried out by the National Cyber Security Centre, as the UK’s national technical authority for cyber security. The analysis was developed around priority threats which have been identified through thorough testing and the real-world experiences of public telecommunications providers. A summary was published by the NCSC in January 2020. A draft of this instrument, informed by the NCSC’s analysis, was put to public consultation on 1 March 2022 and that consultation closed on 10 May 2022. The responses to that consultation contains sixteen regulations
Consultants and Partners are key to this success, as this needs specialist services to help providers fulfill their compliance obligations.
With our top three predictions for full fibre in 2023 nailed, we have to bear in mind a few things: Following the turbulence of the recent years, the pandemic taught us that technology is often the answer to modern challenges. This will be proven yet again during the energy crisis and a global recession. The winners will be the companies that can pivot their business models quickly, using external experts such as NetPMD, to enable them to scale up quickly, and at low risk to their business models.