“Often we try to solve problems from a desk in an office when the real analysis requires a physical presence,” writes Selika Joaiah Talbott in a recent Tweet. Although Talbot was referring to the current transportation bottlenecks associated with the supply chain, her wisdom extends to broadband networks as well. That is, some of the best insight on how to connect the unconnected comes from the people who are in the field, actively bridging the broadband divide. In this issue of the Viodi View, we highlight recent interviews with several of these broadband leaders and the creative ways they are ensuring their communities are not left behind.
“Think about on and off-ramps” is Joseph Franell’s advice to those building fiber networks that traverse rural areas. Franell, president of Blue Mountain Networks, a provider of high-speed Internet to residential and business to 29 communities in Oregon and Washington is well-versed in overcoming the challenges of rural broadband presented by low-density, rugged geographic, and extreme weather conditions. Obtaining a reasonably priced middle-mile connection to the Internet is another hurdle to providing affordable rural broadband.
“Culture is one of the key investments you can make in a company,” says Rick Petersen. Speaking at Fiber Connect 2021, Petersen, president/CEO of Peak Internet, emphasizes that investments in technology, such as Fiber to the Home networks, will be worthless without the right kind of culture. Petersen points out that the culture of treating customers with respect starts internally by treating employees and fellow staff with respect.
“Our culture makes a difference,” is emblazoned on the Peak Internet Culture Coin. Speaking at the Fiber Broadband Association’s Fiber Connect 2021, Peak Internet’s president/CEO Rick Petersen explains that this coin is a constant reminder for Peak Internet staff and others about the tenets of their culture, which are encapsulated in the acronym, MOTOR.
“That’s our purpose; to connect communities,” says Brad Moline president and CEO of Nebraska-based Broadband Service Provider, Allo Communications. Speaking at Calix’s ConneXions 2021, Moline explains how Allo’s fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) network is foundational for creating gigabit societies in the communities they serve.
- Using a so-called human-electric-hybrid bicycle as a last-mile delivery vehicle was the topic of an interview several years ago with Bill Stites of Truck Trite. A recent pilot found a 30% cut in carbon emissions compared to traditional delivery vans for this kind of transport. As this was a pilot, there are multiple areas for improvement, such as the creation of last-mile delivery depots that are part of multi-use community centers.
- The application of Einride’s autonomous cargo trucks at several of GE’s plants will probably not help near-term supply-chain logistics issues, but they definitely point to the future. This is great news for Einride and its approach of combining autonomy and remote operators. Here is a flashback to 2018 and an interview with Einride’s Robert Falck.
- Speaking of the future, Chunka Mui’s new book, “A Brief History of a Perfect Future…Inventing the World We Can Proudly Leave Our Kids by 2050.” To get a good preview of how he envisions how we can get to an abundant future, check out the SmartDrivingCar.podcast.
- And in the near term, Michael Sena, as usual, has a well-thought-out view regarding some of the pitfalls between getting from here to there when it comes to transportation sustainability. Listen to Sena on the SmartDrivingCar podcast where he discusses his latest issue of The Dispatcher.
“What we did is a JumpStart Challenge. We gave people six weeks to figure out a new business and then we did a sponsorship and a little competition,” explains Allo Communications‘ Brad Moline. Moline is describing the contest that solicited community input for how to utilize their gigabit fiber and WiFi network to find creative solutions to everyday problems.
The JumpStart Challenge is a great example of how to find new ways to drive demand for a fiber network, spurring local economic development.