EU and Japan to invest in bandwidth for 2020 Olympics

Neelie Kroes

Neelie Kroes

The European Commission and Japan are investing €6 million each in four projects to help develop new technologies to provide better bandwidth ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

The funding will come out of the Horizon 2020 EU Research and Innovation programme with the aim of offering smartphone internet downloads of more than 1Gbps bandwidth.

“We need fast mobile internet because the growth of smart phones and tablets has dramatically increased mobile internet usage. At the same time people use these devices more and more for real-time video-streaming, which old networks can’t cope with,” said the EU.

One of the four projects that the EU and Japan will invest in is RAPID – the use of innovative radio network architectures to advance 5G technology. This is designed to support smartphone internet downloads of more than 1Gbps bandwidth for each user in an Olympic stadium and other crowded public areas by 2017.

Another of the technology projects is SAFARI – to develop programmable optical hardware for multi-flow transport functions scalable to at least 400Gbps/channel. This means that one channel could carry 20.000 real-time HD blue-ray video streams (20 Mbit/s) at the same time, according to the EU.

The other two projects are: iKaaS, to develop a platform for smart cities based on big data resources; and FESTIVAL, which will provide joint EU-Japan experimentation platforms for the ‘Internet of Things’.

“It’s not enough to have a beautiful smart phone – it needs to work everywhere you want it to work. Investments in fast broadband research will repay taxpayers many times over. Europe is leading efforts to make 5G a reality,” said vice-president of the European Commission, Neelie Kroes.