A fundamental step in transforming a city into a smart city is to have the necessary telecommunications infrastructure. Bandwidth is the fuel of the emerging Gig-Economy and connectivity is the pipeline carrying this essential resource.
Many cities struggle to ensure broadband access to all consumers. Digital inclusion initiatives involve everything from multi-stakeholder Public/Private Partnerships (PPPs) that establish or augment Wi-Fi network expansions to the programs that make affordable broadband access available for low-income residents, for example. And inclusivity applies to remote areas, as well. Some rural communities continue to face challenges getting sufficient connectivity.
Robust, resilient telecommunications networks are essential to ensure the sustainability, livability and workability of the smart cities we are building. Without a smart and broad range of smart telecommunications systems, it would be extremely difficult if not impossible to provide the connectivity smart cities require to provide essential services, whether it's energy, water or public safety and health care.
This chapter provides an overview of what is required to build the telecommunications network that contributes greatly to the delivery of those services as well as other smart city components such as next-generation 5G mobile technology and what promises to be the future of transportation: driverless cars, trucks and a variety of modes of public transport.
Here we address in detail the very real, quantifiable benefits of smart telecommunications, why taking action sooner rather than later is critical, the key applications that contribute to smart networks and the technologies that enable them.
Also, this chapter addresses the utmost importance of telecommunications policies that guide cities in their strategic planning, specific policies they should consider — and how they can be implemented. We recognize that all cities' needs are unique, and that they all have their own strengths and pain points. While there is no "one size fits all" template for city telecommunications policies, there are guiding principles that should be followed to develop the specific policies that accommodate each city's needs.