Here at Hill Dickinson, we are advising at the cutting edge of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the importance of communication infrastructure and services has recently been thrust into everyone's household. This has resulted in new:

  • Facial expressions - 'finding the unmute button'/ 'finding how to share screen'
  • Wardrobe conventions - 'suited and pj'd' rather than 'suited and booted'
  • Frustrations - the buffering/the service contention/screen freezing/throttling applied by operators
  • Ways of interacting - virtual dates/Pilates/education/meetings
  • Methods of humiliation - zoom fails (potato head app)

However, here at Hill Dickinson the telecoms lawyers have been banging on for years that:

  • telecoms infrastructure and services are the means that will deliver the modern economy;
  • optic fibre is the new gold rush; and
  • spectrum is finite and rarer than oil.

The team knows that telecoms infrastructure and services are relevant to, touch everyone and are crucial for society, it is not just the prevalence of WhatsApp/Google etc keeping us all informed (sometimes erroneously).

To explain:

Family - We have all experienced to some extent, and more recently, that telecoms enables people to stay in touch with loved ones who may not have otherwise been so accessible. The increasing accessibility of telecoms has enabled people to stay connected through multiple communication and social media platforms.

Work - It enables companies to communicate effectively with customers and deliver high standards of customer service, and is a key element in allowing employees to collaborate easily from wherever they are located, remote or local.

Education - From primary school to universities, educational institutions have adapted to distanced learning programs. Telecoms has provided the opportunity to access high-quality education from anywhere in the world.

Healthcare - The development of technology in healthcare has enabled more frequent contact between patients and healthcare providers, more timely and accurate medical monitoring, and improved management of data. It has also enabled remote collaboration between global experts, virtual testing of new treatments, and remote operations.

Travel - We are increasingly seeing the use of sensors in roads to monitor traffic flows/speed and air quality (smart motorways), and wifi on trains/planes to help us work and/or relax or keep in touch. In fact we are told that our cars are soon to be autonomous and guided by satellite navigation.

Smart buildings/cities - Telecoms businesses are taking a more primary role in the planning and development of smart cities. We have seen first-hand how the telecoms operators are now being invited to sit in on council meetings to help them understand 5G, and how it will serve their communities; as well as what planning needs to happen for this to become a reality.

Telecoms is reaching further into our lives. Our team has advised on projects that have impacted the areas listed above.

The team is passionate about spreading the word - watch out for the next instalment from our Telecoms team - 'What does 5G really mean to me?'

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.