When it comes to telecommunications, electronic communications, technology, internet, no one can imagine what the next year, the near and distant future brings. The course of technological development over the last 20-30 years is explosive and will continue to be so – not even science fiction films have predicted such developments.
More precisely, how far we reach is now determined only by the limits of the imagination of the pioneers. The amazing thing is that these very developments are immediately welcomed by hundreds of millions of people, with young people first.
Who could have predicted – or imagined – just a year ago, that weeks ago in Nigeria, ambulances were equipped with an intelligent system via a super-fast wireless electronic communications network, through which they find the fastest route to get from the station Aids to the point where they have to get to rescue a sick or injured person, with the traffic lights recognizing the ambulance and staying green to pass?
It is just one example. Every day we see such, inconceivable applications a while ago. You see Internet of Things (Internet of Things – IoT), smart ambulances, 5G, fiber optics, etc.
In the pandemic of the last year, which we hope will pass quickly, telecommunications, or rather electronic communications, have proved, together with medicine, as the most critical infrastructure for each of us, for society, for the economy and not only.
Wired and wireless broadband networks have emerged as the dominant and important infrastructure for everything, for tele-work, tele-education, telecommunication between us. The pandemic was and is at the same time a serious challenge for these networks.
In many countries of the world, including Cyprus, data trafficking, especially in the days of confinement, set one record after another.
Cyprus, with its networks and first in these volumes of Cyta, coped with complete success, but we must see not only the next day, but also the next five and a decade. And Cyta is constantly under the microscope tomorrow.
Whereas in the past we considered connectivity as something that is “good to have”, today it is necessary for everything, with a leading role in the way people and businesses communicate, interact and work.
The pandemic has accelerated the demand for new technologies, as they can solve problems that have already arisen in key areas, such as education, medical diagnosis, treatment and care, and maintaining social distance.
The pandemic has also accelerated the need for digitalisation of the state and opens up huge opportunities for cities and organizations to make the digital leap, offer advanced services to citizens and businesses, and achieve spectacular resource savings.
For Cyta, the limitations of lockdown and others that have followed have clearly demonstrated how crucial – both to society and to the economy – it is to function as a modern and efficient telecommunications organization. How important were its ongoing investments in upgrading its telecommunications networks.
The continuous upgrade of Cyta's telecommunications networks is also one of the keys that can pave the way for economic recovery after the pandemic, but where, let's not forget, the need for adequate and quality telecommunication services will never return to where it was in early 2020, but will continue to grow and evolve dynamically.
What we have seen so far, however, is only the prologue. We are entering a new decade, which has many surprises in store for us, the acceleration of technological development, the increase of the utilization of technology in our daily life, personal, professional, entertainment, information, is inconceivable.
That is why strategy and goals are needed for the future, vision is needed. In Cyta there is a vision for the next decade. Everyone's vision is to turn Cyta into a telecommunications provider of the future.
The first goal, which is at the highest step of the organization's priorities, was, is and remains the smooth technological development of its network infrastructure. The networks, the high-tech infrastructures, as well as the experienced dedicated executives of the organization, are an added value in Cyprus and to each one who utilizes them separately.
The new Cyta treats its customer as the cornerstone of its strategy. Our main goal is to upgrade the service experience enjoyed by the Cyta customer, home and business.
The experience of the pandemic clearly showed that the focus of the effort was to put – and was put – the radical overhaul of the digital service channels, so that the customer has at his disposal a new, integrated digital experience that will serve his needs without being its physical presence in Cyta stores is necessary.
Are 100 km per hour a little?
It is clear that telecommunications infrastructure will be the backbone of the future world economy and will also play a unique role in achieving a clean zero carbon economy. The world is becoming more and more digital.
A simple example, for those who think we can do it later: How many will protest – either themselves or their children – if they see through their mobile phone the car traveling at 100 kilometers per hour on the highway, a high-definition TV show and face delays or interruptions? Many, if not all, will be upset, you will say. And yet, a few years ago, they did not even imagine that they would have such an opportunity, exactly those who will protest – possibly with their own right – now. So it will be in the future.
So, for a long time now, Cyta, with huge investments, has been developing Cyprus with the fiber optic network that reaches the premises of businesses and households. And this important work continues – it is the cutting-edge technology and infrastructure for Cyprus that has proved particularly necessary in the new conditions brought by both development and the pandemic.
Next step of similar importance and keeping Cyprus at the forefront, the 5G networks.
Our expectations must be realistic, because within the next six to twelve months the installation of new technology infrastructure will proceed, but we are not expected to see any spectacular change in our daily lives.
5G builds an entire ecosystem of applications and solutions around it and that is where it will be seen what it can do. This will not happen overnight.
The real transformation of our life will result from the digitalization of the daily services that will be offered and mainly, through the new technologies that will emerge.
Compared to previous technologies, 5G flexibility allows it to adapt to the different needs of each industry, which increases the opportunities for combined innovation between industries.
In addition to improving one's daily life and new experiences, in addition to the multiple benefits for the economy, the new telecommunications technologies that are coming bring other benefits that humanity values more and more.
For example, it is the reduction of the use of raw materials, it is the reduction of the traffic on the roads.
It is the increased safety of workers in dangerous occupations, which will now be based on remotely controlled devices. It is the best management of our resources to improve the services and products we enjoy, but also to improve and increase production, exports, tourism.
The Cyta catalyst for digital transformation
The need for the digital transformation of Cyprus to proceed in the fastest and most complete way is indisputable.
Cyta's participation in the effort to make Cyprus an international center of digital transformation can be a catalyst. And Cyta's contribution must be taken for granted.
As the largest technology organization, it can offer combined and holistic solutions based on its infrastructure, services, know-how and expertise.
As a result of Cyta's targeted development investments in the network sector, Cyprus is steadily strengthening and establishing itself as a reliable telecommunications hub for international interconnection and service provision in the Eastern Mediterranean, utilizing the Agency's new technological investments in fiber optics and mobile networks.
The substantial upgrade of the international satellite and submarine cable connections offers significant opportunities for attracting international revenues, since, utilizing the geographical position of Cyprus, they are an important bridge connecting East and West.
It contributes to the development policy of the place, as it allows the connection of companies and facilitates their decision to establish headquarters in Cyprus.
The data centers (Data Centers) and the modern infrastructure maintained by Cyta offer a high level of security that supports entrepreneurship and start-ups (ICT Startups) to be established in Cyprus.
Cyta data centers are certified with the distinguished international standard ISO 27001, being a clear proof of both its superiority in matters of reliability and security, as well as its commitment to them.
Digital evolution is green
New generation connectivity is one of the main reasons that will enable the countries of the European Union, including of course Cyprus, to deal effectively with climate change and move towards a more competitive and environmentally sustainable European economy.
For example, in addition to reducing raw material use and reducing road traffic, with the new data created by advanced communications networks, carbon emissions could be substantially reduced to 1.34 Gt by 2030, even and in a scenario that takes into account current parameters and data.
To follow the path shown by the EU for the 5G network
The need to speed up basic infrastructure, such as fiber optic networks and 5G, which has emerged particularly through the daily needs brought by the pandemic, is understandable, but not an easy one. First and foremost, significant funds are required from telecommunications providers who share with other economic operators, since in a fiber optic network, for example, the cost of digging and rehabilitating roads may cost more than the fiber itself and all the equipment its management. So in 5G, a large part of the investment goes to towers, space security, wiring, etc. and a smaller percentage in purely telecommunications equipment.
One of the headaches across the sector, internationally, is the lack of global uniformity of regulations. While almost every region claims to want to “win the race” on 5G, the way telecommunications companies operate and operate varies widely from country to country. At the same time, it is a given that reciprocity decreases sharply, as the prices paid by consumers decrease sharply. In the last four years alone, data show that an average monthly tariff on mobile telephony has fallen by 20%, while mobile data consumption has risen by almost 150% over the same period.
It is typical that today, for example, the unlimited use of data for one day, competes with the price of a coffee.
Increasing speeds and data usage will bring new reductions for consumers.
But can developments in the digital infrastructure and significant investments required in this direction be accelerated with the existing framework? The European Union is fragmented in this area, with different frameworks and regulations that, many times so far, have proved prohibitive. This is something that was realized.
That is why the European Union has issued a recommendation to all member states since last September, in order to put into practice a framework that will allow the fastest possible development of the 5G network. The framework proposed by the EU Recommendation is based on best practices for reducing development costs and increasing the speed of introducing very high speed electronic communications networks.
The recommendation is to the Member States to facilitate in every way the development of 5G networks to help the economic recovery of the countries themselves and the EU.
First of all, the radio frequency auction process is required to be completed within four months.
The same applies to the licensing of base stations: Once an application is made to install a 5G base station at some point, Member States should be able to approve it within four months.
In the same context, it calls on Member States to provide public buildings and other infrastructure for the installation of antennas, in order to facilitate the development of the 5G network.
It also calls on Member States to set up an imaginary toolkit of good practices on how they can reduce the cost of developing a network and the bureaucracy that hinders its growth.
To this end, it also provides a relevant time frame, based on which the good practices of the “tool-box” must have been agreed by all Member States by 30 March 2021.
Finally, it is recommended to seek opinions and suggestions from providers for faster licensing procedures with procedures that will provide for decision-making at a common point. It is expected that the Republic of Cyprus will adopt the EU recommendations as soon as possible.
Also, the EU gives the opportunity to utilize the Recovery Fund with EU resources, which for Cyprus is a historic opportunity to promote investment in particularly important areas, which for our country have been significantly delayed, such as digital skills, 5G networks, business digitalization and the digital state.