Archive for month: November, 2017

Rural Service is Key to Bridging the Digital Divide

Original Article

Working with municipal stakeholders cuts costs, increases speed of rural deployments of the more than 30 million people in the United States without access to the internet, some 6 million of them are students, Skyler Dithfield, CEO of service provider Geolinks, told RCR Wireless News during the recent TC3 conference.

“I grew up with no internet in a rural area myself,” he explained. Once he was connected, access changed the way he approached his own educational experience. Years later, Ditchfield read an article about dozens of k-12 schools that were unconnected, had grant funding to fix the problem, “but no service providers stepped forward. We can do this,” he told himself.

Now Geolinks is one of the fastest-growing telecom companies in the country, according to the Inc. 5000 index. Specializing in rural connectivity, Geolinks provides service in Southern California and parts of Arizona.

In terms of deployment models, Ditchfield explained the benefits of working with government stakeholders to arrive at a cost-effective strategy with an emphasis on speed. “We’ve been working with schools, health care, libraries…how do we bring these different funding silos together?” By working with a cross-section of stakeholders, Geolinks arrived at a model where municipal assets can be leveraged to deploy “in one fell swoop. Right now it’s done on a bid-by-bid basis with all these different funding silos. It’s not cost effective to build the network in increments like that. We can come in and build the entire network, do it for a fraction of the cost, and much, much quicker.”

This is accomplished with a mixture of fiber and fixed wireless, including iterations like using TV white space—something being pushed by Microsoft. “It’s going to be conjoining those networks in the proper design and topology depending on the terrain, the density of housing, etc…to get not only a cost effective deployment, but also rapid.

So why is speed of deployment important? “We’ve got to get it done sooner rather than later. Every three or four years, we’re missing a generation of kids. The internet is going to give that opportunity to be the next great innovator. Think of all the advantages that’s going to bring to those people. We don’t lose a whole generation of children who miss out.”

To hear more from Geolinks, including the role of the 3.5 GHz CBRS band in delivering rural coverage, as well as the company’s focus on delivering multi-gigabit speeds using millimeter wave spectrum, check out this video interview.

How GeoLinks’ Flagship Product ClearFiber™ is Closing the Rural Broadband Gap AND Connecting Urban America

Original Article

Every Fall communication industry executives from around the world travel to Silicon Valley to attend the Telecom Councils’ TC3 Summit—a 2-day, working summit where companies who build communications networks come to discover innovation. This year’s title sponsor was GeoLinks, a leading telecommunications company and competitive local exchange carrier (CLEC) public utility, nationally recognized for its innovative Internet and Hosted Voice solutions.

With the topic of “connectivity” taking precedence on this year’s agenda, GeoLinks’ CEO Skyler Ditchfieldtook to the main stage on day 1 in an address titled “Closing the Rural Broadband Gap.” Beginning by providing an overview of GeoLinks’ success in deploying high-speed broadband to businesses and anchor institutions nation-wide, Ditchfield discussed how closing the digital divide will ultimately require implementing a hybrid network that utilizes fixed wireless to deliver the last mile.

Audience members were particularly intrigued with Ditchfield’s innovative case studies surrounding GeoLinks’ fixed wireless product ClearFiber™, many declaring GeoLinks to be “the most impressive start-up to present at the summit.” Operating 100% in-house, Ditchfield explained how ClearFiber™ can deploy rapidly and produce low-latency, gigabit plus speeds at a fraction of the cost of fiber.

However, summit attendees also learned that GeoLinks is doing much more than just connecting rural communities with high-speed broadband. The telecom also has a growing footprint in the urban and sub-urban landscapes, giving larger carriers a true run for their money.

“It’s time for the public to know that there is another realistic option in the market apart from the big 4 carriers,” expressed Ditchfield. “GeoLinks provides enterprise-grade Internet and Hosted Voice solutions backed by round-the-clock, U.S. based customer support and an industry leading Service Level Agreement. In-house we have coined this ‘The GeoLinks Difference’—it’s our golden rule to treat you like we want to be treated. That, paired with our exceptional products and service offerings, has quickly led us to become the fifth fastest growing privately-owned telecom in America.”

Following his address at the summit, RCR Wireless Editor, Sean Kinney, sat down with Ditchfield to dig even deeper into all that GeoLinks has done, is doing, and plans to accomplish in the very near future in both the rural, urban and sub-urban landscapes. You can view the entire interview by tuning in to the below video.

Expanding Flexible Use in Mid-Band Spectrum Between 3.7 and 24 GHz

Before the

Federal Communications Commission

Washington, DC 20554

In the Matter of

Expanding Flexible Use in Mid-Band Spectrum Between 3.7 and 24 GHz

GN Docket No. 17-183

REPLY COMMENTS OF CALIFORNIA INTERNET, L.P. DBA GEOLINKS

California Internet, L.P. dba GeoLinks, LLC (“GeoLinks” or the “Company”) submits these reply comments in response to certain comments filed on the Notice of Inquiry (“NOI”) issued August 3, 2017 in the aforementioned docket.

Additional flexible access to mid-band spectrum would allow broadband providers to leverage wireless technologies to fill the gaps in the current broadband landscape. Fixed wireless technologies offer new opportunities to connect rural and unserved communities and offer competitive alternatives to incumbent providers in urban settings. GeoLinks submits these reply comments to provide input on potential opportunities for additional flexible access to mid-band spectrum.

DISCUSSION
Rules for the 3.7-4.2 GHz Band Should Be Changed to Promote Point-to-Multipoint Wireless Broadband Service
As explained in its opening comments, GeoLinks urges the Commission to structure a flexible use regime that will allow small and mid-sized wireless broadband providers to utilize mid-band spectrum for point-to-multipoint (“P2MP”) wireless broadband service. As commenters explain, the​ ​3.7–4.2​ ​GHz​ ​band​ ​is​ especially ​well-suited​ ​to​ ​support​ P2MP​ ​broadband​ ​access.[1] However, rule changes are needed to allow for this type of use in the 3.7-4.2 band.

GeoLinks agrees with commenters that the Commission should change its “full-band, full-arc” policy for licensing satellite earth stations.[2] As Microsoft states, the Commission “should initiate a process to update its rules regarding FSS earth stations so that they are protected only to the extent necessary to protect them from receiving harmful interference.”[3] More specifically, GeoLinks supports the BAC’s recommendation that the Commission could “modify its rules to permit FSS operators to retain their current licenses to operate across the entire 3700 – 4200 MHz band, but limit interference protection to the frequencies on which the earth station is actually operating at a given time.”[4] GeoLinks also supports commenters’ recommendation to clean up the FSS database.[5] If the database does reflect FSS earth stations that were never built or no longer exist, as asserted by several commenters, failure to update the information only serves to further limit use of the 3.7-4.2 GHz band.

The 3.7-4.2 GHz band Should Not Be Reserved for Mobile Wireless Use Only
GeoLinks disagrees with commenters that advocate that the 3.7-4.2 GHz band should be solely allocated for mobile wireless broadband use.[6] As an initial matter, GeoLinks fails to see how this type of allocation would help meet the Commission’s goals of expanding broadband deployment to unconnected Americans (especially in rural areas). As GeoLinks explains in its opening comments, P2MP connections offered via fixed wireless broadband service create opportunities to connect multiple users from one transmission point. With the appropriate spectrum allocation, fixed wireless providers can offer up to Gigabit+ P2MP connections of identical quality to fiber connections for a fraction of the cost.[7] This is something that cannot yet be accomplished over mobile broadband connections.

Additionally, allocation of this band for mobile wireless providers may not provide an immediate benefit to consumers like allocation for P2MP services would. T-Mobile states in its comments that designation of the 3.7-4.2 GHz band for mobile broadband would “complement wireless carriers’ use of spectrum in adjacent bands.”[8] T-Mobile further states that some of this adjacent band spectrum “may be made available in the future.”[9] Moreover, Verizon explains that this band “can support the high bandwidth carriers required for data-heavy 5G services”[10] – a future technology that is still years from full deployment. While adjacent bands do promote efficiencies, the efficiencies touted by certain commenters are too forward looking to base spectrum policy for this band on at this time. A policy of setting aside rare spectrum resources for prospective purposes when they could be utilized immediately to connect underserved areas promotes inefficiency and runs contrary to the Commission’s goals of closing the digital divide. Instead, GeoLinks urges the Commission to create spectrum sharing policies for this band that will promote the deployment of highspeed P2MP broadband services.

An Auction Mechanism is Not Appropriate for Mid-Band Spectrum
Some commenters advocate that spectrum licenses in the mid-band should be offered via an incentive auction.[11] While auctions are effective for some spectrum bands, GeoLinks maintains its position that an auction mechanism is not appropriate for mid-band spectrum. First, incentive auctions tend to only benefit large companies with large amounts of capital to spend. Small to mid-sized fixed wireless providers have the potential to offer highspeed broadband services that can meet the Commission’s speed and deployment goals for a fraction of the cost of traditional, fiber-based service providers. Therefore, GeoLinks emphasizes that any spectrum licenses granted in the mid-band spectrum should be granted on a basis that will allow these companies to obtain and utilize them. Second, as discussed above, auctions incentivize bidders to purchase spectrum resources as an asset for future use rather than for immediate use.[12] To meet the Commission’s broadband deployment goals, spectrum policies should be developed in a way that promotes connectivity immediately.

GeoLinks urges the Commission to grant spectrum licenses for the mid-band in a way that immediately promotes efficient use and deployment of highspeed broadband services. Specifically, GeoLinks urges the Commission to use a “light licensed” or Part 101-type licensing structure, especially with respect to the 3.7-4.2 GHz band.

CONCLUSION
In conclusion, GeoLinks urges the Commission to develop spectrum policy for the mid-band spectrum that allows for the effective deployment of P2MP wireless broadband technologies.

Respectfully submitted,

GEOLINKS, LLC

/s/ Skyler Ditchfield, Chief Executive Officer

/s/ Melissa Slawson, General Counsel/ V.P of Government Sales and Education

[1] See Comments of the Broadband Access Coalition (“BAC”), GN Docket No. 17-183 (filed Oct. 2, 2017) (“BAC Comments”), at 1. See also Comments of Google LLC and Alphabet Access, GN Docket No. 17-183 (filed Oct. 2, 2017) (“Google Comments”), at 2.
[2] See Comments of Microsoft Corporation, GN Docket No. 17-183 (filed Oct. 2, 2017) (“Microsoft Comments”), at 3. See also BAC Comments at 8, and Comments of Verizon, GN Docket No. 17-183 (filed Oct. 2, 2017) (“Verizon Comments”), at 12.
[3] Microsoft Comments at 3.
[4] BAC Comments at 8.
[5] See Google Comments at 4-5 and Microsoft Comments at 3-4.
[6] Comments of T-Mobile USA, Inc., GN Docket No. 17-183 (filed Oct. 2, 2017) (“T-Mobile Comments”), at 7. See Comments of CTIA, GN Docket No. 17-183 (filed Oct. 2, 2017) (“CTIA Comments”) at 6.
[7] Specifically, spectrum allocation of at least 250 MHz in the mid-band would be ideal for these connections.
[8] T-Mobile Comments at 10.
[9] Id.
[10] Verizon Comments at 14.
[11] See CTIA Comments at 5. See, generally, T-Mobile Comments.
[12] See FN 9, supra.

50 Fastest Growing Private Companies 2017: Geolinks Building Broadband Access for Rural America

Original article by Helen Floersh

No. 2: GEOLINKS
Camarillo

CEO: Skyler Ditchfield

Growth Rate: 335%

It has been a big year for GeoLinks, the No. 2 firm on the Business Journal’s 2017 list of the Valley area’s Fastest Growing Private Companies.

Besides updating its moniker to reflect its long-term ambitions – the business-to-business internet service provider changed its name in June from California Internet to GeoLinks, which it described as being better aligned with its goal of expanding its services nationwide – the company also settled into its new, 38,000 square-foot Camarillo headquarters and hired its 50th employee. Finally, GeoLinks made the 2017 Inc. 5000, ranking No. 5 in the telecommunications category and coming in No. 604 overall.

“For a lot of people, what sets us apart is how we’re different from the big guys,” Ryan Adams, GeoLinks president, said. “We decided that we’re going to do what we thought was in the best interest of our clients, first and foremost.”

So far, that mindset appears to be working. Geolinks has managed to more than double its revenue year over year since 2014, when it saw $2.2 million in revenue. It generated $8.8 million last year, according to the firm, and is on track to outperform itself yet again in 2017.

“Telecommunications doesn’t necessarily have to be an ugly word,” Adams said. “For us, it’s really about enhancing the customer experience and evolving with our clients as well. That’s where the big guys have a hard time.”

GeoLinks envisions itself as one day being the premiere provider of high-speed internet to rural communities throughout California and beyond. While just 10 percent of all U.S. citizens lacked access to high-speed internet in 2016, the figure climbed to roughly 40 percent for those living in rural areas, according to the Federal Communications Commission.

“It’s not just a buzz-term that we use, it’s our passion: Bridging the digital divide, which means bringing high-speed internet to everybody no matter what geography,” Adams said. “Studies have shown that people who have access to high-speed internet are more inclined to make more money and better education. These things are very important to us.”

Rural boom

New state legislation that establishes funds for the deployment of broadband projects in rural areas puts GeoLinks on track to expand its California business substantially. Chief Executive Skyler Ditchfield, who founded GeoLinks in 2011 with his cousin and Chief Techonology Officer Ryan Hauf, was one of the lobbyists behind the September passage of AB1665, or the “Internet for All Act.” Ditchfield has been working with the Corporation for Education Network Initiatives and other organizations to establish contracts with public institutions.

The company was awarded more construction grants than any other internet service provider for California public schools and libraries for 2016 and 2017. Earlier this year, it received a certificate of public convenience and necessity from the California Public Utilities Commission, enabling it to form strategic partnerships with federal agencies such the Department of Education.

“Right now we’re working with all different types of organizations – private and public – to spread the GeoLinks name,” Adams said.

GeoLinks’ rapid growth is linked to three components, Adams added: an exceptional primary product, strong customer relations and a knack for recruiting and retaining top talent. From land procurement to equipment installation, GeoLinks performs every step of the process behind setting up a broadband network in-house, affording finer control over timetables as well as its relationships with clients. The company is able to send workers to sites more quickly than companies that contract with third-party suppliers for equipment-related services.

“People are used to a certain kind of relationship with their internet or telecommunications provider,” Adams said. “Whatever the big guys were doing, we were going to do the exact opposite, starting with our speed of deployment.”

To catch and keep exceptional employees who are fully invested in the company’s progress, GeoLinks has outfitted its headquarters with Silicon Valley-style amenities, such as an in-house gym, basketball court and full-service kitchen. Workers also have access to a personal chef and a wellness expert, he added.

“There’s not a day that goes by where I’m not absolutely delighted with the workforce we have here at GeoLinks,” he said. “We are all about not only the client experience, but also the employee experience.”

But material benefits are only one part of the firm’s strategy for building a standout team. GeoLinks’ managers take a “hands off” approach to employee oversight, minimizing micromanagement so that workers have the intellectual freedom to come up with new ideas that can move the company forward, Adams explained.

“We went out of our way to make sure this is a company that creates a culture of respect, without the ego,” Adams said. “We want all of our employees to feel like they have just as much of a stake in the company as anybody else.”

Uncovering Little Gems Among Us — Fastest Growing Private Companies.

Original post By Charles Crumpley – Monday, November 13, 2017

One of my favorite Special Reports of the year is in this issue. It’s the Fastest Growing Private Companies.

Why is it a favorite? For one thing, fast-growing private companies tend to be new and, in a way, undiscovered. If you go down our list of Valley area fast-growing businesses that begins on page 18, you’ll see many names that are probably unfamiliar to you.

Even the top three companies on the list – USA Link System, GeoLinks and Payscout Inc. – are probably new to most Valley area folks, including those who follow local business news.

It’s not simply that we’re uncovering little-known names. That wouldn’t be difficult; there are thousands of small, private companies all around us. But the companies on our list also are growing quickly. The three companies mentioned above had two-year growth rates of 425 percent, 335 percent and 329 percent, respectively.

In short, these are little gems that hold big promise. And it’s exciting to bring those high-performing but little-known companies to the surface. Today’s GeoLinks may be tomorrow’s BlackLine Inc. or Avery Dennison – or even Amgen Inc. And you saw it here first.

Most business news outlets focus not on small private companies but on big public companies. That makes sense because public companies generally are bigger, and since they attract investment from the public, they should get scrutiny and coverage.

But public companies tend to be bigger and slower growing. A 10 percent growth in revenue is considered breakneck speed. So an article about how a company is coping with triple-digit growth – such as some in the Special Report in this issue – is fresh and interesting.

I’m always somewhat amused by the hand-wringing that occurs whenever a big local public company gets bought out. When that happens, civic leaders invariably ask what they believe is an important question: What can we do to stop losing “our headquarters”?

Nobody enjoys losing big public companies, to be sure. But in a philosophical sense, the loss of a big public company is simply part of the life cycle. Companies are born, they grow, they get old and they go off, perhaps in a merger. A community has no more right to keep any company in town than it has a right to retain individual residents.

A more important question is this: Are we replacing them? Do we have a bounty of thriving small private companies coming up to replace the big businesses that leave us? Do we have the next BlackLine and Avery Dennison and, yes, Amgen coming up?

If the answer is yes, that means a pillar of the local economy is sturdy. If the answer is yes, than at least some of the fastest-growing and most successful of the smaller private companies will become our next generation of big public companies. If the answer is yes, then the civic minded can get back to fretting about high taxes and slow traffic.

If you look over this special section, you can’t help but see the mounting strength of our fast-growing private companies. And I’m confident you’ll see that the answer to that more important question is yes.

Charles Crumpley is editor and publisher of the Business Journal. He can be reached at [email protected]

Three impressive start-ups that presented at TC3

Original Article

1. In a session titled “Closing the Rural Broadband Gap,” Skyler Ditchfield, CEO of GeoLinks, provided an overview of his company’s success in providing high-speed broadband to schools and libraries using fixed wireless technologies, specifically microwave radio operating in several frequency bands. The company’s flagship service is ClearFiber™, which offers customers fixed wireless broadband service on the most resilient and scalable networkSkyler described the advantages of their 100% in house approach to engineering, design, land procurement, construction and data connectivity. GeoLinks approach offers gigabit plus speeds at a fraction of the cost of fiber with lower latency and rapid deployment across the country.

A broadband fixed wireless installation on Santa Catalina island was particularly impressive. Speeds on the island (which GeoLinks says is 41 miles offshore) are typically 300 Mbps, and the ultra-fast broadband connection provides support for essential communications services, tourism services, and commerce. GeoLinks successfully deployed Mimosa Network´s fiber-fast broadband solutions to bring high-speed Internet access to the island community for the first time in its history. Connecting the island to the mainland at high speeds was very challenging. GeoLinks ultimately selected Mimosa for the last mile of the installation, deploying Mimosa A5 access and C5 client devices throughout the harbor town of Avalon.

Another ClearFiber™ successful deployment was at Robbins Elementary school in California. It involved 19 miles of fixed broadband wireless transport to provide the school with broadband Internet access.

Skyler said that next year, GeoLinks planned to deliver fixed wireless transport at 10G b/sec over 6 to 8 miles in the 5Ghz unlicensed band- either point to point OR point to multi-point. The company is considering 6GHz, 11GHz, 18Ghz and 20Ghz FCC licensed bands. He said it would be important for GeoLinks to get licensed spectrum for point to multi-point transmission.

More on GeoLinks value proposition here and here. And a recent blog post about Skyler Ditchfield who told the TC3 audience he grew up fascinated by communications technologies. This author was very impressed with Skyler and GeoLinks!

2. In a panel on “Startup Success Stories,” Nitin Motgi, founder and CEO of Cask (a “big data” software company) talked about how long it took to seal a deal with telcos. It’s longer than you might think! In one case, Nitin said it was 18 months from the time an unnamed telco agreed to purchase Cask’s solution (based on a proof of concept demo) till the contract was actually signed and sealed. Nitin referred to the process of selling to telcos as “whale hunting.” However, he said that if you succeed it’s worth it because of the telco’s scale of business.

3. Tracknet Co-Founder and CEO Hardy Schmidbauer presented a 5 minute “fast pitch” to the Telecom Council Service Provider Forum. He talked about his company’s highly scalable LPWAN/ IoT network solutions: “TrackNet provides LoRaWAN IoT solutions for consumers and industry, focusing on ease of use and scalability to enable a “new era” of exponentially growing LPWAN deployments.” The company is a contributing member of the LoRa Alliance and the TrackNet team has been instrumental in specifying, building, and establishing LoRaWAN and the LoRa Alliance for more than five years. The founding Tracknet team includes veterans from IBM and Semtech who were instrumental in the development of LoRa and LoRaWAN.

With “Tabs,” Tracknet combines a WiFi connected IoT home and tracker system with LoRaWAN network coverage built from indoor Tabs hubs.

Sandler Partners SoCal Summit Featuring GeoLinks, TPx, Masergy, and More

Sandler Partners gave its agents a day of education and networking in Redondo Beach, California.

The Hermosa Beach, California-based master agent hosted the Sandler Partners SoCal Summit on Oct. 25. Agents came from all over California and other states to engage in training sessions and to hear from numerous speakers. Topics ranged from SD-WAN to cybersecurity to contact center. Kevin Leonard of AT&T’s Alliance Channel and TPx Communications CEO Dick Jalkut highlighted the panel discussions.

Scroll through the gallery below and check out our recap of the summit.

GeoLinks, the California-based internet and phone provider, sponsored the summit and exhibited in the “Solutions Showcase” room. The company sells ClearFiber, a fixed wireless broadband offering, as one of its signature products. GeoLinks also offers hosted voice, Ethernet and backup circuits.

Sandler Partners invited a host of SD-WAN and networking providers on stage to take part in a lightning round. Eric Beller, senior vice president of sales, rattled off a long list of yes-or-no product questions, and the representatives raised their company logo if they checked the box on specific product features.

GeoLinks, Comcast, T-Mobile, QoS Consulting, New Business Development, Telstra, SolEx, Cox Communications, Windstream and Birch all squeezed onto the stage.