Denver, CO – April 15, 2021 – A panel of telecommunications and technology CEOs say transparency, collaboration and digital transformation are critical factors as the Biden administration aims to spend $US100 billion to bridge the country’s digital divide.
Speaking at Render’s Digital Network Week summit, the CEOs from Biarri Networks, VETRO FiberMap, Connected2Fiber and Render Networks canvassed a number of key themes regarding future broadband rollouts around the country and the governance needed to ensure investment is being utilized and reaches underserved markets in the intended timeframe. With funding no longer the primary constraint for broadband rollouts, the panel turned their attention to other areas that could cause delays for network rollouts and opportunities to streamline funded projects.
The first of these is embracing technology to increase collaboration. “I think we will see digitizing of everything. To effectively attack asset sharing and shared infrastructure — which could be poles, conduits or fiber strands— all the parties involved need to be in a sharing posture with data and with the physical assets. I see more of that coming,” Will Mitchell, CEO, VETRO FiberMap said.
In terms of that digitization, Sam Pratt, CEO, Render Networks added, “Digitally enabled deployments have the potential to make progress data widely available via a variety of platforms — and maximize the likelihood of this next wave of investment achieving the desired impact.”
With the tremendous public investment at stake, tracking and accountability should be paramount. This panel represents the tools needed for these rollouts to be data-driven, to know what was built, who was connected and see the impact of the investment.
Paul Sulisz, CEO, Biarri Networks likened it to health oversight saying, “I would love for it to be possible to track progress on broadband deployment the way we are tracking vaccination rollout. A map, on all the major news outlets, where you can see on any given day communities that are being connected. We need to be absolutely transparent, especially when using government investment, to ensure we know where every dollar is going because we have a history of losing track. It will take the entire ecosystem to get behind that.”
Current technology allows for responsive prioritization of deployment based on a multitude of competing factors — ARPU, census or priority service zones, or time-to-revenue. Geospatial technology provides the ability to see all of these in one view and open up a new level of deployment performance. This build optimization and prioritization capability is where the leadership at Render predicts the industry will turn, and therefore, is investing heavily in it and underlying AI tech.
Ben Edmond, CEO, Connected2Fiber said, “I see three T’s that will alleviate some of the challenges. First, tools and techniques should be embracing that digital life. Billing, planning and provisioning need a system flow and architecture. Second is talent. We need a trained workforce that can operate the digital tools to build and maintain networks. And third, transparency of the ecosystem. We should be thinking about all three to transform how we operate for the next generation.”
True collaboration was another point shared by all. “We need to be building relationships even with competitors. There should not be this idea of eating each other’s lunches — we are not going to go hungry. The problem is massive, and we all need to play together to solve it,” commented Paul Sulisz, CEO, Biarri Networks.
The panelists concluded that tech, transparency and collaboration are crucial to begin to address the significant infrastructure opportunity the industry is facing. To learn more about Digital Network Week, visit www.rendernetworks.com/digital-network-week/.