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.

Have you Heard of GeoLinks? If not, you will soon.

RCRWireless.com

Is it possible to disrupt the “big four” carriers? We say yes. California-based telecom company, GeoLinks, is doing just that, proving that even new players can substantially impact the industry as we know it. In the past six months alone GeoLinks has been asked to sit on an array of national boards, coalitions, and working groups including the Schools, Healthcare & Libraries Broadband Coalition (SHLB), the Broadband Consortium of the Pacific Coast (BCPC), the FCC’s Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee (BDAC) Working Group, and WISPA’s FCC Advisory Board.

Founded in 2011, much of GeoLinks’ early success can be attributed to its flagship product, ClearFiber™,which provides customers truly redundant fixed wireless broadband. Boasting ultra-low latency, 99.99% uptime, sub 10ms jitter, and a 4-hour max response time, GeoLinks holds the industry’s best Service Level Agreement backed by in-house U.S. based customer support. GeoLinks’ ability to rapidly deploy Hosted Voice, Temporary and Event Circuits, and both Public and Private Turnkey Network Construction has contributed to the company’s accelerated growth.

So, why all the recent recognition?

2017 has been a monumental year for the innovative Internet and Phone provider. From officially earning its status as a competitive local exchange carrier public utility to launching nationally, to building 37 custom towers—the majority solar and wind-powered—GeoLinks’ dedication to making industry advancements has propelled it to become the country’s second fastest-growing privately-owned Internet Provider.

Amongst its many accolades, GeoLinks was also the largest construction grant winner for California K-12 schools and libraries in both 2016 and 2017 enabling it to successfully connect 21 rural anchor institutions, and counting, with high-speed broadband. GeoLinks’ recognized passion and dedication to closing the digital divide has prompted company CEO, Skyler Ditchfield, to be a featured speaker at many high-caliber events including the upcoming 10th Annual TC3 Summit taking place Nov 1-2 in Silicon Valley.

“I recognize the skepticism and wireless anxiety that people have surrounding fixed wireless technology,” says Ditchfield. “People think that the technology is inherently flawed, when that’s just not the case. It is an ongoing challenge for our company to re-educate the market that the problem doesn’t lie in the technology itself. In fact, the technology has been around since the 60’s and is actively utilized by large companies in the New York Stock Exchange and Militaries around the world. The real problem falls with improper installation. That’s why, at GeoLinks, we decided to bring everything in-house. We’re general contractors, and from land procurement, to building the actual towers, to customizing network configurations, our team ensures that the technology is deployed properly. When deployed correctly, ClearFiber™ is the most effective and superior solution available on the market.

So, you’ve never heard of GeoLinks before? You can be assured that the thriving telecom will be a large player in the country’s evolving national broadband discussion in 2018 and beyond.

Hantheon Podcast: Award-winning Growth Through People — Skyler Ditchfield

https://player.fm/series/hantheon-leadership-podcasts/award-winning-growth-via-people-011

Join Skyler Ditchfield on the Hantheon weekly podcast series as he discusses his leadership in team-focused culture, and how it contributed to winning an INC Award for rapid growth. Find the podcast at https://lnkd.in/gz8kD-X

Skyler is the CEO at GeoLinks. GeoLinks is one of the fastest growing telecom businesses. And Skyler brought his team experience to bear in order to make this success happen. This is the next podcast in Hantheon’s weekly series on leadership. You can find the podcasts at https://lnkd.in/gz8kD-X And post your perspectives on Skyler’s podcast at Hantheon’s Discussion Forum. Here you can share ideas and connections. Find the Discussion Forum at https://lnkd.in/ga5265P

GeoLinks Makes Mogul’s Top 100 Innovators in Diversity & Inclusion in 2017

GeoLinks, Skyler Ditchfield

GeoLinks is a member of the SHLB Coalition, a non-profit, 501(c)(3) advocacy organization that supports open, affordable, high-capacity broadband connections for anchor institutions and their surrounding communities. Additionally, GeoLinks works with the Microsoft Whitespace Projects, pushing for more rural and urban wireless spectrum to ultimately drive up competition and lower industry costs which aligns with GeoLinks’ focuses to have a positive impact on the local economy.

Too see the full list visit: https://onmogul.com/stories/top-100-innovators-in-diversity-inclusion

GeoLinks Makes the Pacific Coast Business Times’ 50 Fastest-Growing Companies List

Original Source

GeoLinks Ranks No. 6 on the 2017 Pacific Coast Business Time’s Annual 50 Fastest-Growing Companies List with Revenue Growth Recorded at 340%.

CAMARILLO, CA (PRWEB) OCTOBER 03, 2017

GeoLinks, an industry-leading Internet and Phone provider, earned the No. 6 spot on the Pacific Coast Business Times’ (PCBT) 50 Fastest-Growing Companies list released Friday, September 22, 2017. Proudly serving the Ventura, Santa Barbara, and San Luis Obispo Counties, the PCBT’s annual list highlights the 50 fastest growing companies, both public and privately owned, across California’s Central Coast.

Ranked by revenue growth from 2014-2016, this year’s list highlights GeoLinks alongside other nationally recognized companies such as MindBody, Patagonia, Deckers Brands, Procore, and Sonos. While listed as No. 6 overall, GeoLinks took the No. 1 spot for fastest growing telecommunications company in this year’s round-up.

“This has been a monumental year for GeoLinks,” said GeoLinks’ CEO Skyler Ditchfield. “From officially earning our CLEC and public utility status in May, to rebranding and launching nationally in June, to making the Inc. 5000 list and being appointed to the FCC’s Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee’s Streamlining Federal Siting Working Group in August, I’m excited to say that this is really just the beginning of our projected growth. As a locally founded company, this recognition significantly resonates with the entire GeoLinks’ team. Our first customers were in Ojai and Ventura. The vast majority of our staff lives locally. Our kids go to school throughout the Tri-Counties. Ultimately, we wouldn’t have achieved such accelerated growth without our community’s support. That being said, this is not only a big win for GeoLinks, but it’s a huge shout out to all of those who have believed in us along the way.”

Recording more than 100% growth in annual revenue for the past six consecutive years, and on track for its seventh, GeoLinks’ accelerated success also earned the No. 5 spot on Inc. Magazine’s Inc. 5000 Fastest Growing Telecommunications Company in America released in August of 2017.

The PCBT’s 50 Fastest-Growing Companies will be honored at an evening gala reception hosted at Santa Barbara’s new Moxi Museum on October 19th from 5:30-7:30 p.m.

For media inquiries or additional information, please contact Lexie Olson at lolson(at)geolinks.com.

About GeoLinks

Headquartered in Southern California, GeoLinks is a leading Internet and Phone provider and competitive local exchange carrier (CLEC) public utility, nationally recognized for its innovative Internet and Hosted Voice solutions. Ranked No. 5 by category on Inc. Magazine’s 2017 Inc. 5000 list of Fastest Growing Companies in America, GeoLinks delivers Enterprise-Grade Internet, Layer 2 Transport, Hosted Voice, and both Public and Private Turnkey Network Construction expertly tailored for businesses and Anchor Institutions nationwide.

GeoLinks’ accelerated success is largely due to its flagship product, ClearFiber™, which offers customers fixed wireless on the most resilient and scalable network ever built. From land procurement, to construction, to permitting, and more, GeoLinks does everything in-house, expediting installation periods nationwide. Boasting ultra-low latency, 99.99% uptime, sub 10ms jitter, and a 4-hour max response time, GeoLinks prides itself on delivering the industry’s best Service Level Agreement backed by round-the-clock in-house customer support.

Recognized as a thought-leader in closing the digital divide, GeoLinks proudly sits on an array of national boards, coalitions, and working groups including the Schools, Healthcare & Libraries Broadband (SHLB) Coalition, the Broadband Consortium of the Pacific Coast(BPPC), and the FCC’s Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee’s (BDAC) Streamlining Federal Siting Working Group.

GeoLinks using Silicon Valley-style office to attract employees

GeoLinks co-founders Skyler Ditchfield, left, and Ryan Adams in the lobby of the company’s new [Silicon Valley-style] headquarters in Camarillo.

Original Article

Ventura County telecommunications company GeoLinks hopes to lure tech talent to Camarillo with a new Silicon Valley-style office, tripling its workforce after doubling its revenue two years in a row.

The company inherited the 38,000-square-foot space — tricked out with an onsite gym, pool tables, a jukebox and arcade games by previous owner Zindagi Games — and added a kitchen stocked with healthy breakfast, lunch and snack options in the hope of filling it with around 100 additional staff.

Rebranded in June from its former name, California International, the internet service provider was “bursting at the seams” prior to the move, said CEO and co-founder Skyler Ditchfield.

“Once people kind of find out what we’re doing here behind the scenes and meet with us and speak with us, the facility kind of sells itself,” said President and co-founder Ryan Adams. “Our big focus is on our clients but also the culture. We want people when they walk through these doors not only to feel appreciated but to want to come in every single day.”

GeoLinks debuted at No. 6 on the Pacific Coast Business Times 50 Fastest -Growing Companies list in 2017, reporting prior year revenues of $8.8 million. It also ranked No. 640 on this year’s Inc. 5000 list of fastest-growing companies.

The company has a few initiatives in the works to connect to local universities, as well as employing several graduates from Thomas Aquinas College, but “we’ll take talent, wherever it’s from,” Adams said, from project management, communications and sales employees, to more technical applicants.

Launched to serve rural broadband customers around Ojai, the company got its first real break in 2013 with the Lake Sherwood development contract south of Thousand Oaks. From there, it moved toward business-to-business services in the Greater Los Angeles market before launching its wholesale business selling to other ISPs, now around a third of its revenue.

By offering fixed wireless, rather than fiber or satellite, the company has also picked up state contracts for schools, hospitals and libraries in remote areas of California and other states. Since government grants from programs like the Internet for All Act and the Connect America Fund help cover upfront costs of installation, it joined a Federal Communications Commission advisory committee working group and the Schools, Health & Library Broadband Coalition to advocate for additional resources, including the use of “white spaces” frequencies proposed by Microsoft.

“We’re helping shape policy for how to expedite procurement of federal lands for internet services, and we’re pushing other agendas in terms of getting more spectrum freed up,” Ditchfield said. “Right now all the wireless spectrum is owned by all the cell operators. They have an abundance of it, but they’re hoarding it, and we really need that freed up to be able to connect these rural areas and low income houses.”

If company revenues and federal programs continue to grow, GeoLinks might look to open additional satellite locations for rapid deployment, like the one it already has in Santa Fe Springs serving Los Angeles customers. But the two Ojai-native founders said they would never want to uproot.

“Nothing beats Ventura County,” Adams said. “It doesn’t matter how many homes we worked that week, or if we worked over the weekend, there’s a certain energy in this building, and it’s contagious. I don’t feel like this is a job, even though there’s a lot of work that happens, to be a part of something that’s growing like this.”

The company brought on a director of corporate wellness and culture to help handle the transition from a 50-person operation to a much larger one, as well as adding fitness and nutrition programs.

Teambuilding through group activities, basketball games and yoga classes help introduce people to the leadership team, promote interdepartmental communication and enable regular wellness checks.

But it remains to be seen if the Silicon Valley approach will help it find the right talent.

Companies have to make sure they’re not focusing too much on the “soft perks” over things like time off, workplace flexibility, salary and stock options, said Maria Ballesteros-Sola, assistant professor of management at CSU Channel Islands.

“Perks come down to the underlying culture, and not the other way around,” she said, but added that “big conversations and big ideas can be generated at the water cooler and the conference room. If you have the foosball table, and people start playing to disconnect and re-energize, they might have the conversation to solve a problem or a new project.”

Early on, competitive salaries were tough to match, and raises to retain workers stretched the budget, Ditchfield said. But with the continued growth, the company has not only brought up salaries, but invested in sustainability initiatives like solar and wind at its relay stations, as well as considering onsite childcare options.

“One thing we talk about internally here is ‘what is our living wage?” Ditchfield said. “We don’t want to ever be paying anyone a level of pay that they’re suffering with. We want to get to a point where we have a minimum threshold of salary that we hire people on, and if there’s a job below that, we either need to automate it or consolidate it.”

And if there’s anywhere to promote work-life balance, Ballesteros-Sola said, it’s the Central Coast.

“It’s just imperative for us to do this organically to where we came from,” Ditchfield said.

• Contact Marissa Nall at [email protected]

California ISP Connects Isolated Areas with Fixed Wireless Broadband

Original Article

Mimosa Networks, the provider of 5G Fixed wireless solutions, has announced that it is teaming with GeoLinks, a California-based communications service provider, on a number of statewide projects to revolutionize internet access at underserved government, educational, and healthcare organizations, the company said.

GeoLinks, named one of America´s fastest growing companies by Inc. Magazine, is connecting these previously unreached organizations by providing ultra-reliable, fiber-fast broadband throughout the state of California and beyond, using pioneering wireless broadband technology from Mimosa.

On Catalina Island, for example, GeoLinks successfully deployed Mimosa´s fiber-fast broadband solutions to bring high-speed internet access to the island community for the first time in its history.

Taking into account the unique location — 41 miles offshore — and leveraging the existing infrastructure, a team of engineers considered a number of advanced options to tackle the challenge of connecting the island to the mainland. 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.

Speeds on the island are typically 300 Mbps, and the ultra-fast broadband connection provides support for essential communications services, tourism services, and commerce.

Back on the mainland, GeoLinks is actively addressing one of the state´s most critical infrastructure needs — connecting rural schools to the internet. In order to help these schools provide the highest and most advanced educational services to their students, GeoLinks again turned to Mimosa solutions to reach these hard-to-reach customers. Thanks to Mimosa´s ease of use, reliable performance and Gigabit-plus connectivity, Geolinks will be continuing its rapid deployment to rural school customers.

Mimosa Networks is the provider of next-generation, Hybrid Fiber-Wireless fixed access broadband solutions. Founded in 2012, Mimosa is based in Silicon Valley and deployed in over 130 countries worldwide.

Can Fixed Wireless Fix Rural Broadband?

Original Article

It doesn’t matter whether you’re a telco, a cable company or a software giant with designs on the ISP market, everyone is hoping that new wireless solutions will cut the cost of providing broadband to large sections of the country. The big question is: How much juice does new wireless tech actually have? And is it enough to make rural broadband deployments cost effective?

Service provider GeoLinks and technology vendor Mimosa Networks Inc. , two partners on the fixed wireless frontier, are very bullish on the technology’s promise. How bullish? In working with the Schools, Health & Libraries Broadband Coalition (SHLB), GeoLinks CEO Skyler Ditchfield says he believes fixed wireless technology can be used to reduce the amount of money needed to connect underserved anchor institutions across the US by up to 70%. That could go a long way to helping close the digital divide, and it could even kick off new competition in some markets where service providers traditionally haven’t cared to venture.

“[We’re] working on doing the cost analysis on doing fixed wireless instead of fiber,” says Ditchfield, referring to a program SHLB is working on to get federal funds for rural broadband deployments. “We think we can probably reduce the total cost in the build ask by about 65% to 70%.”

As partners, GeoLinks and Mimosa have experience in delivering broadband to far-flung places. For example, Ditchfield notes that GeoLinks has built out service to a couple of dozen rural schools in the last 18 months, and that many of these deployments rely on solar- and wind-powered telecom relay stations with wireless links that range from 25 to 58 miles.

“These were schools that weren’t able to complete state testing. The students were being bussed out because they had to go do the state testing at another facility and that’s obviously very costly and time consuming,” says Ditchfield. “So we were able to come in and solve that geographical issue with fixed wireless.”

Ditchfield also recalls a recent deployment where an island off the coast of California needed help to improve the reliability of local Internet. In that case, the issue wasn’t so much the distance the wireless signal had to travel, but the fact that, in order to provide backhaul capacity for the island’s Internet service, the signal had to reach across water from the mainland. Unfortunately, the effects of temperature and air pressure caused the signal to bounce and bend off the water in unexpected ways, disrupting connectivity on a daily basis.

“If you’re looking on a hot day down the road and you’re looking at a distance and you see those heat waves where the light starts to bend a little bit, that mirage effect, that’s basically what’s happening with the radio frequency signals as well,” explains Ditchfield.

GeoLinks and Mimosa solved the issue by dropping wireless equipment to two separate locations on the island, with a fiber run in between, and creating redundancy to counter the interference. Now when one link goes down, the local ISP fails over to the second link.

For future fixed wireless broadband expansion, there is still the issue of finding enough available spectrum to meet bandwidth demand. However, the good news is that companies that are providing fixed wireless services don’t necessarily need to compete with mobile providers for some of the most coveted spectrum real estate. Mimosa Chief Product Officer Jaime Fink and others are lobbying the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to open up more mid-band spectrum, and Fink says that while frequencies in the 3.7GHz band aren’t ideal for mobile services, they are a viable option for fixed wireless connections.

The FCC issued a Notice of Inquiry to study opportunities for mid-band spectrum in July.

“Mimosa has been extremely aggressive with the FCC,” says Fink, noting that the company has put together a Broadband Access Coalition that includes members such as GeoLinks, Cincinnati Bell Inc. (NYSE: CBB) and others. The coalition, as he explains it, is “really pushing the envelope of how fast can we share the 3.7GHz spectrum. It’s really perfect for fixed wireless applications. It’s not something that would be typically used by mobile guys out in rural areas especially so we’re trying to really advance access to that band for multipoint as soon as possible.”

TV white spaces, the spectrum encompassed by the guard bands around older analog television stations, offer another possible alternative. Microsoft Corp.(Nasdaq: MSFT) is pushing heavily for white spaces development as part of a $10 billion rural broadband project and Ditchfield sees the company as a potential partner for GeoLinks down the road. (See Microsoft Pushes White Spaces for Rural Broadband .)

There’s long been a question of whether fixed wireless service will eventually be a cable killer, ending cable’s long dominance of the home broadband sector. Even beyond rural markets, if fixed wireless technology can cut the cost of deployments and still deliver high-speed Internet, it has the potential to radically shift market dynamics.

However, even if wireless technology becomes the preferred solution for last-mile broadband delivery in the future, it won’t negate the need for wired backhaul. Fink points out that even though wireless links can span 50 miles and beyond, the more common scenario is to have a fiber connection within five miles or so of end users in order to support fixed wireless service.

The logical conclusion is that broadband going forward will be a mix of wired and wireless technologies. That’s why cable ISP Charter Communications Inc. is running 5G fixed wireless trials, and why Google Fiber Inc. is considering fixed wireless solutions in conjunction with existing fiber-to-the-home deployments. (See Charter Reveals New Details on 4G/5G Trials and Google Fiber Now a Wireless ISP!.)

Fixed wireless isn’t likely to kill cable, nor to let telcos off the hook for fiber. But it could still open up a lot more opportunity for broadband expansion and specifically for reaching unserved and underserved rural communities across the country.

— Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, Light Reading