5G Australia Rollout Initiative
The Australian Government recently announced the 5G Development Initiative, which will see the government investing $29.2 million into Australia’s 5G rollout over the next two years.
For Australian businesses, this means faster mobile networks, more bandwidth and the possibility for smart technology. In this post, we will explain what the 5G rollout is and what it means for Australian businesses.
5G rollout Australia: an overview
Is 5G in Australia?
There are currently three 5G carriers in Australia: Telstra, Vodafone and Optus. These three companies all own mobile (‘cellular’) telecommunication networks, which receive and transmit data on set frequency ranges. 5G is the fifth generation of the mobile network, hence ‘5G’.
Specifically, 5G networks are networks that meet a set of standards laid out by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU). These standards include:
Providing a maximum download speed of 20 gigabits per second.
Providing a maximum upload speed of 10 gigabits per second.
A maximum lag time (often called ‘network latency’) of 4 milliseconds.
While these standards sound impressive, they are only the standards Telstra, Vodafone and Optus demonstrate they can meet, as everyday network speeds will depend on the weather, local infrastructure and the individual telecommunication provider.
5G will use the existing infrastructure Australia set up for the 3G and 4G networks, with the addition of new infrastructure and radio towers built by Australia’s network carriers. Initial plans by the Australian Government estimate the 5G network will take several years to complete.
Where is 5G in Australia?
5G Australia began in 2019, with major cities and metropolitan areas being upgraded first. Across the Telstra and Optus networks, 5G is available in selected areas of Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland, Tasmania, Western Australia, South Australia and the ACT. The Vodafone network is only available inside NSW, with extensions planned later this year.
The Australian Government 5G Development Initiative
The Australian Government announced the Australian 5G Development Initiative on September 29th, as part of the 2020-21 budget’s Job Maker Digital Business Plan. The plan will be carried out over the next three years, and includes two key investments:
The 5G Innovation Initiative is designed to show off the capabilities of the 5G network. Funds from the initiative will be given to private organisations as grants. These grants will be awarded in two rounds, with the first round of grants expected to open for applications in early 2021.
The innovation grants are designed to help small, medium and large businesses build products, services and applications for the 5G network as part of a plan to demonstrate the industrial and commercial benefits of 5G.
The 5G Australia plan also includes a grant for the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA). ACMA is currently responsible for managing, allocating and granting spectrum licenses, which allow businesses exclusive rights to electromagnetic frequency bands in a particular area. ACMA will use their grant for two purposes, with:
Long term, this grant will make the process of applying for a spectrum license easier, speeding up the process of bringing 5G to all Australians. Further details on the Australian Government 5G Initiative will be released by the end of 2020, including guidelines for the 5G innovation initiative grant.
Benefits of the 5G rollout
y 2030, the Bureau of Communications, Arts and Regional Research believes that 5G will increase Australia’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) between $1,300 to $2,000 per person. In the meantime, the 5G Australia rollout has a range of benefits for both individuals and businesses. This includes fast speeds, low-latency, increased bandwidth and enhanced capacity.
While the National Broadband Network (NBN) offers Australian’s a maximum speed of 100 megabits per second, the 5G network could provide customers with speeds that are 200 times faster. Although Australia’s network is still new, initial tests have shown that Telstra’s 5G network offers average speeds of 231.8 megabits per second and Optus’s 5G network offers average speeds of 61.9 megabits per second.
The 5G network has lower latency than the 3G and 4G networks, meaning it takes very little time for data to be transmitted to the receiver and back. This will dramatically increase the efficiency of machine-to-machine communication and will allow businesses to invest in remote-control machines, as there will be very little ‘lag time’ between when the signal is sent and when it is received.
The increased bandwidth of the 5G network will speed up the amount of data that can be transmitted at once, meaning businesses will be able to process and send large quantities of data without multiple signals slowing the network.
The 5G network will have a capacity of up to 1,000 times the capacity of the 4G network, allowing thousands of devices to communicate non-stop on a single wireless network. This increases the capacity of the Internet of Things (IoT) and would allow businesses to increase the safety of smart manufacturing.
5G Future Applications
The 5G rollout will benefit all Australians but will offer special benefits for businesses; particularly those in the fields of agriculture, mining, and manufacturing.
With the speeds, low-latency and increased bandwidth of the 5G network, 5G will allow agriculture businesses to invest in smart farming. Smart farming allows businesses and farmers to:
Use sensors and telecommunication to monitor livestock and crops remotely.
Process large amounts of field, weather and machinery information with predictive software that can predict crop yields and prevent crop loss through disease.
Use agri-bots (agriculture-specific robots) for simple tasks like watering, seeding and planting.
Long-term, this will reduce the number of humans needed to operate a farm, increasing the efficiency and profitability of the organisation.
As the 5G network enhances the reach of the 4G LTE network, 5G will make wireless communication possible in remote mining areas. This will allow mining businesses to:
Use remote equipment that operates mines without needing employees on-site.
Speed up communication between people and machines on-site, as the mobile network will extend Australia-wide.
Use condition monitoring systems that process environmental data and predict potential hazards.
Overall, this is safer for employees, cheaper for mining companies and will increase the yield of each mine, as machines can work in conditions unsuitable for employees.
With fast speeds and an enhanced capacity, the 5G network allows businesses to invest in smart manufacturing. Smart manufacturing is a form of manufacturing that operates a workshop from a remote location.
This removes humans from the manufacturing floor, instead allowing them to perform their regular duties from a computer. With the low-latency of the 5G medium, the speed of each machine's decision-cycle time increases, allowing it to complete more tasks in less time. While employees are still needed to run a smart manufacturing workshop, smart manufacturing is both safer for humans and more productive for the workshop.
5G and eFax
Australia’s 5G rollout won’t just increase the speed of everyday business operations, it will allow you to send and receive internet faxes instantly. Compared to physical fax machines, internet faxes are mobile, more secure and more environmentally friendly.
Instead of using a physical fax machine, eFax lets you send faxes from your computer, email or mobile phone in seconds. No more busy signals, expensive toner, paper jams or costly machine repairs!
With eFax by your side, you’ll have access to lifetime cloud storage for your documents, 400 free fax pages every month and enhanced security to keep your data safe. EFax is NBN compatible making it future proof for coming technology. Online faxing is hassle free, and it can be used to send and receive faxes quickly by using your own personalised online dashboard, another option is to send and receive fax using email or connect through the eFax app.
With our NBN compatible digital faxing solution you can reach out to people regardless of where they are.
To see if internet fax is right for your business, start a 30 day free trial with eFax.