By Mohammed Al Ghamdi
Saudi Arabia Pioneers Sustainable Digital Development with the Rise of a 10Gbps Society

Saudi Arabia has positioned itself at the forefront of the emergent intelligent society, outpacing many global counterparts in its digital infrastructure development. The Kingdom envisions establishing itself as a regional digital hub and has embarked on an ambitious endeavor to build a "10Gbps Society" – a cornerstone of digital-led sustainable development.

The 10Gbps Society holds the key to unlocking a myriad of opportunities and benefits for the Kingdom. This advanced network infrastructure will revolutionize various aspects of society by providing ultra-fast connectivity with speeds of 10 gigabits per second, low latency, wide coverage, and massive connectivity. It will enable intelligent education and healthcare, empower smart cities and manufacturing, and significantly enhance the quality of life for its citizens.

More specifically, 10 Gbps internet connectivity is set to revolutionize the Kingdom's digital economy, significantly enhancing productivity and fostering an environment of innovation. This leap in digital infrastructure is also a magnet for foreign investment, attracting global players to invest in the diverse sectors of Saudi Arabia's economy, aligning with the ambitious Vision 2030. For the corporate sector, businesses in the Kingdom are poised to transform their operations, leveraging the ultra-fast internet to deliver superior digital services and create immersive customer experiences. 

The 10Gbps Society paves the way for cutting-edge service development, particularly in bandwidth-intensive domains such as cloud computing and virtual reality. Riyadh's initiative to become a 10Gbps City exemplifies this shift, promising to elevate the standard of living and drive digital productivity across the urban expanse. 

A recent whitepaper by the Saudi Ministry of Communications and Information Technology identifies several key enablers to ensure the successful realization of the 10Gbps Society. Through a series of regulatory and policy changes, the report highlights how the Kingdom fosters a conducive environment that nurtures digital excellence, stakeholder engagement and coordination, R&D and innovation incubation, international collaboration, industry ecosystem development, talent cultivation, and robust monitoring and evaluation systems.

These developments are guided by Vision 2030, through which the Kingdom has committed to sustainable digital development by recognizing the immense potential of digital technologies in driving economic growth while minimizing environmental impact. The 10Gbps Society initiative aligns perfectly with this vision, promoting energy savings and reduced carbon emissions by deploying optical fiber networks and utilizing green data centers powered by renewable energy sources.

Societal change thrives within the context of partnerships and collaboration. Digital transformation is no different; consequently, Saudi Arabia actively fosters open partnerships and public-private collaborations to achieve the best results in developing the 10Gbps Society. In addition to the wel knowen Western companies, Chinese companies, renowned for their accelerated value growth in the ICT sector and sustainable development, have emerged as key partners in this endeavor. In particular, Huawei, a global leader in 5G and 5G-Advanced technologies, complements Saudi Arabia's vision and the UN's Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with its Digital Power solutions.

Many large Chinese companies established themselves well in the global clean energy landscape. According to a report by the International Energy Agency, the global annual renewable capacity additions stood at 510 million kilowatts last year, and China contributed over half to this figure, making a tremendous contribution to the growth of global renewable energy generation. 

Huawei Digital Power new business line is an example of driving the adoption of low-carbon energy solutions by integrating digital and power electronics technologies in the energy sector. Recognizing the industry's need to decarbonize and the increasing adoption of digital technologies, it aims to strengthen power systems, improve efficiency, and address the challenges associated with clean energy sources. By leveraging advances in ICT, such as data analytics, predictive maintenance, and power electronics technologies, the company is positioning itself as a critical player in transforming the energy sector, contributing to global decarbonization goals, and driving the industry towards a more sustainable and digitally-enabled future.

The foundation for a connected, digital, and intelligent world is being laid across the country. Saudi Arabia's 5G network population coverage exceeds 53%, with urban areas like Riyadh achieving an impressive 94% coverage. The number of 5G towers per 10,000 people reaches nearly 4.4 and is expected to rise further.

Driven by mega-projects, smart cities, healthcare, education, and tourism, Saudi Arabia's ICT sector is projected to reach $53 billion by 2025. The 10Gbps Society will undoubtedly catalyze this growth, creating new opportunities for operators and promoting intelligent lifestyle experiences. The Kingdom estimates that the cumulative impact of the ICT sector's contribution to GDP will reach SAR 358 billion by 2030, with the emergence of the 10Gbps Society adding an extra 1% to this figure.

Saudi Arabia serves as a beacon of inspiration for other nations seeking to embrace sustainable digital development as it continues its ascent toward becoming a 10Gbps Society. Through an unwavering commitment, strategic partnerships, and innovative spirit, the Kingdom is transforming its digital landscape and contributing to the global vision of an intelligent, connected future. The 10Gbps Society represents not just a technological leap but a testament to Saudi Arabia's leadership in shaping a sustainable and prosperous digital world.

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