Image Credit: Huawei

The Global Ultra-Broadband Forum (UBBF) 2023 brought together global carriers, partners, standards organisations, regulators, and vertical industry leaders to discuss how to build productivity-centric UBB target networks in the era of intelligent connectivity of everything. The discussions also covered ways to comprehensively improve UBB network performance to fully unleash the network potential. The Forum, organised by Huawei with the support of the UN Broadband Commission, was held from October 12 to 13, 2023, in Dubai under the theme Connecting Intelligence for New Growth.

Industry experts and insiders shared technology insights, acquired hands-on experience with innovations, and engaged in in-depth talks with industry stakeholders aimed at building UBB target networks to accelerate the transition to an intelligent world.

UBBF is an annual thought leadership event in the fixed network industry. This year’s event included regional leaders such as Bocar BA, CEO & Board Member of SAMENA Telecommunications Council, H.E. Eng. Mohamed Ben Amor, Director General, AICTO, and other industry organisations and regional leaders.

A panel discussion titled 10 Giga Digital Infrastructure for Accelerating a Robust & Sustainable Digital Economy saw senior industry leaders discuss policies and actions required to accelerate ultra-broadband, i.e., 10-Gigabit network, development across the Middle East and Central Asia. The panel addressed the policy requirements,  the stakeholders needed to be involved, ways to accelerate open collaboration, and joint efforts in the ultra-broadband. It also highlighted the benefits of 10-gigabit digital infrastructure for the region’s digital economy and sustainable development goals (SDGs). Co-hosted with the SAMENA Council, the leadership panel discussion occurred on the sidelines of the 9th Ultra-Broadband Forum (UBBF 2023).

The panelists included Cevat Yerli, CEO, TMRW Foundation; Alex Lee, Managing Director UAE, China Mobile International; Mohammed Bin Ali, Acting Director, Telecommunications Directorate, Ministry of Transportation and Telecommunication, Bahrain; Lin Yanqing, Principal Consultant, Industry Policy Public & Government Affairs, Huawei Technologies. The discussion was moderated by Mr. Erik Almqvist, CEO, Sense Strategy.

Speaking at the panel discussion, Lin Yanqing said: “5.5G is the natural evolution of the 5G ecosystem, and one of the significant advantages of 5.5G is its ability to upgrade network capabilities by 10X and support a 10 Gbps experience, enabling 100 billion connections and native intelligence for numerous services. Huawei’s concept of the ‘Gigabit Society’ leveraging technology across multiple domains to provide an era of ubiquitous connectivity and intelligence, unlocking new opportunities for growth and innovation across various industries in the Middle East and Central Asia.”

Bocar A. Ba, CEO and Board Member, Samena Telecommunications Council, stated: “Maximising the true potential of 5G and implementing real-life use-cases through sustainable advancements is now a top priority. As the 5G journey continues and 5G evolves toward 5G-Advanced (5.5G), it would be critical to unlock access to new capital to support new network transformation leading to 5G-Advanced, which is expected to help mitigate connectivity gaps for underserved areas and communities. The recently concluded SAMENA LEAD awards recognised, appreciated, and encouraged those who are playing a critical role in 5G development in the region, paving the path for evolutionary 5G advancements that can bring benefit to both businesses and societies.”

Ultra-broadband networks are the most essential infrastructure for communities and businesses in the intelligent era. This requires extensive availability of digital infrastructure—whether it’s fiber or cloud – as well as an extensive digital space for supporting the billions of new connections. A 10Gbps network is a solid foundation for a 10-Gigabit city, while high-quality 10Gbps enterprise campus networks can efficiently connect enterprise offices, production units, and business branches. By using Wi-Fi 7 technologies to provide 10GE wireless access to APs and 10GE wired access to rooms, enterprises can truly unleash their productivity.

The UBBF highlighted the intelligent transformation that is moving at an accelerated pace and that as the connectivity foundation for the intelligent world, UBB networks need to keep up with the times through accelerated iteration and innovation. Therefore, the next step is to stride to the UBB5.5G era of intelligent connectivity of everything.

Some countries in the Middle East are leading in the Gigabit era and are paving the way in the 10 Giga era. To accelerate this progress, governments will play an essential role in driving this process by releasing telecom infrastructure guidelines and industrial standards for wiring, fiber to the premises, fiber to the telecom infrastructure, and fiber to the rooms. They should also foster better cooperation among telecom, infrastructure providers, developers, and municipalities.

The forum marked a major milestone in open discussions on the importance of the digital infrastructure shift to support the region’s digital economy and to the overarching sustainable development goals (SDGs), to which regional governments are signatories.