Base station trees and copper treasures

Base station trees and copper treasures

Information and communications technologies changed our world forever in a very short period of time. It was in 1965 that the Moore’s Law was first quoted. Moore’s Law is the observation that over the history of computing hardware, the number of transistors on integrated circuits doubles approximately every two years. The period often quoted as “18 months” is due to Intel executive David House, who predicted that the period for a doubling in chip performance (being a combination of the effect of more transistors and their being faster). It is 2013 and the law is still true, as hardware is getting faster and more efficient every year, and new products hit the shelves almost every six months now.

This is very confusing for us because everything around us changes very quickly. That’s why there are many peculiar and strange things happening in the ICT world. For example, the mega-trend of smaller base stations is met with vigorous public resistance. Producers are keen to install smaller base stations which provide better sound quality and higher bandwidth with reduced energy consumption, especially in city centers. However, they cannot just put the base stations everywhere because the public doesn’t want to see them. It really baffles me that people are happy to have high-speed mobile Internet as long as they are not close to a base station. But if people do not see the station, then they don’t complain. That’s why companies are camouflaging base stations so that the public won’t notice them immediately. They are now appearing in major cities as city lights, trees, electric towers, water towers and the like.

According to Wired, in the mid-1990s, Ivo Branislav Lazic (who worked for a telecommunications service company called Brolaz Projects) and his colleague Aubrey Trevor Thomas were commissioned by Vodacom to solve the visual pollution problem cell phones presented. Lazic and Thomas came up with the world’s first palm tree cell phone tower. The Palm Pole Tower, made from non-toxic plastics, was installed in Cape Town in 1996.
It all started in South Africa in 1996 but now it is a major peculiarity all around us.

The other strange issue is uniquely Turkish. The ICT infrastructure also changes very rapidly. We were using copper wires to transmit voice and data, but as smart phones were rolled out at an amazing rate in Turkey, the copper wires were just not good enough. So authorities began investing in fiber. Now Turkey is being connected by fiber instead of copper. However, copper itself is very valuable. It is estimated that 2 billion dollars’ worth of copper cables lie underground, waiting to be dug out and sold to world markets.

This far, it is pretty straightforward, but it gets much more complicated very fast. Naturally, Turk Telekom will want to sell the cables, but the government will likely step in and do so independently. Or at least they will try. The 2 billion is one-third of the price the Oger Group paid for the whole company. But I don’t know how it can be possible to tell them that the copper is the state property of the firm that was sold by the government in all its entirety.