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GeoLinks’ CEO Skyler Ditchfield Appointed to the FCC’s Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee

The Federal Communications Commission announces Skyler Ditchfield as a member of the newly re-chartered Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee

CAMARILLO, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–On May 16, 2019, Chairman Ajit Pai of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced his appointment of Skyler Ditchfield, Co-Founder and CEO of GeoLinks, to serve as an official member of the newly re-chartered Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee (BDAC). Of the 39 listed appointees, Skyler Ditchfield serves as the only Southern California representative.

According to the FCC’s official release, “In its second term, the BDAC will continue its work to craft recommendations for the Commission on ways to accelerate the deployment of high-speed Internet access, or ‘broadband,’ by reducing and/or removing regulatory barriers to infrastructure investment and strengthening existing broadband networks in communities across the country.” The release continues by outlining the BDAC as an opportunity for interested stakeholders to exchange ideas and develop recommendations to the Commission on broadband deployment, to enhance the Commission’s ability to deploy broadband to all Americans.

Previously appointed to the Streamlining Federal Siting Working Group in 2017, and the Disaster Response and Recovery Working Group in 2018 (both BDAC sub groups), Ditchfield’s elevated appointment will enable him to provide strategic recommendations and influence action to close the digital divide on a national scale.

“I have been continually impressed by Chairman Pai, his administration, and all the work that they have done thus far,” stated Ditchfield. “They’ve truly worked hard to level the playing field for all sized ISPs. They’ve put forward significant new dollars towards broadband investment and are staying true to their promise of closing the digital divide. With GeoLinks’ founding mission being to close the digital divide, we have a multitude of case studies that have proven capable of closing the gap in California. Being that all of these projects demonstrate proven and transferrable methods, I am very excited to get to work with both the BDAC and my two designated working groups to cultivate the most realistic and feasible path forward nationally.”

The renewed BDAC will hold its first meeting on Thursday, June 13, 2019, in the Commission Meeting Room at FCC Headquarters, located in Washington, DC. The meeting is open to the public. The FCC will accommodate as many attendees as possible; however, admittance will be limited to seating availability. The Commission will also provide audio and/or video coverage of the meeting over the Internet from the FCC’s web page at www.fcc.gov/live.

The FCC’s official Public Notice can be accessed online via the following link: https://www.fcc.gov/document/fcc-announces-re-chartered-bdac-membership-and-first-meeting

For media inquiries or interview requests, please contact Lexie Smith, VP of Business Development, at [email protected].

About GeoLinks

Headquartered in Southern California, GeoLinks is a leading telecommunications company and competitive local exchange carrier (CLEC) public utility, nationally recognized for its innovative Internet and Digital Voice solutions. Ranked first in category on Inc. Magazine’s Inc. 5000 Fastest Growing Companies in America in both 2017 and 2018, GeoLinks delivers Enterprise-Grade Internet, Digital Voice, SD-WANCloud On-ramping, Layer 2 Transport, 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 dedicated business-class Internet with unlimited bandwidth, true network redundancy, and guaranteed speeds reaching up to 10 Gbps. Named “Most Disruptive Technology” in the 2018 Central Coast Innovation Awards, GeoLinks’ ClearFiber™ network is backed by a carrier-grade Service Level Agreement boasting 99.999% uptime and 24/7 in-house customer support. With an average installation period of 4 to 7 days, GeoLinks is proud to offer the most resilient and scalable fixed wireless network on the market.

Contacts

Media Inquiries:
GeoLinks
Lexie Smith, VP of Business Development
[email protected]

Connect America Fund Making Federal Dollars Work for California

Presented at CENIC’s 2019 Annual Conference.

SPEAKER:

Skyler Ditchfield, Co-Founder and CEO, GeoLinks

ABOUT:

The Connect America Fund Phase II Auction (CAF II) was created by the Federal Communications Commission to distribute federal grant dollars to enable broadband infrastructure buildout to rural areas of the country that lack basic broadband services. In August 2018, GeoLinks was awarded approx. $88 Million to deploy high-speed broadband network facilities to eligible areas in California and Nevada (to be distributed over 10 years). In this discussion, GeoLinks’ CEO, Skyler Ditchfield, will discuss the CAF II application process, awarded areas, and opportunities for creating synergies between CAF II and other broadband grant programs. He will also discuss possible pain points and policy changes needed to streamline deployment and ensure CAF II funding is used as efficiently as possible to connect unserved Americans.

Strategies for Addressing the Broadband Digital Divide

Strategies for Addressing the Broadband Digital Divide

Presented at CENIC’s 2019 Annual Conference.

Featured Speakers:

Skyler Ditchfield, Co-Founder and CEO, GeoLinks | Louis Fox, CEO and President, CENIC | Matt Rantanen, Director of Technology, Southern California Tribal Chairmen’s Association | Sunne Wright McPeak, CEO, California Emerging Technology Fund | Steven Huter, Director, Network Startup Resource Center, University of Oregon

About:

A recent article in the New York Times titled, “Digital Divide Is Wider Than We Think, Study Says” (12/4/18), notes that, “Fast internet service is crucial to the modern economy, and closing the digital divide is seen as a step toward shrinking the persistent gaps in economic opportunity, educational achievement and health outcomes in America.” While the FCC concludes that broadband is not available to 24.7 million Americans, a recent study by Microsoft states that “162.8 million Americans do not use the internet at broadband speed” and that this “discrepancy is particularly stark in rural areas.”

Many projects that might address this broadband disparity have been unattractive to private sector providers, given the difficulty of generating a return on investment necessary for the capital expenditures for construction of necessary middle-mile infrastructure. And, while there is a tendency to see the digital divide as a rural issue, many urban areas show a similar lack of access to fast home Internet, though often for different reasons — lack of affordable broadband and/or lack of motivation for broadband adoption.

The picture is not entirely gloomy: There are many creative approaches to address issues of access, affordability, and adoption, often pooling sources of funds, integrating two (or more) broadband technologies, and through partnerships that involve public, government, and private sector partners. The panelists, all of whom are engaged in every aspect of broadband from public policy to project deployment, will highlight and discuss successful strategies to address the broadband digital divide and engage conference participants in a discussion about how to scale locally instantiated projects to reach across all of California (and beyond).

What are the Best Rural Internet Options?

The Pros and Cons of Different Rural Internet Options

It is reported that more than 24 million Americans don’t have access to broadband Internet. According to a study conducted by Microsoft in 2018, 162.8 million people “do not use the Internet at broadband speeds.” Why? Whether it be due to inflated costs, poor availability, slow deployment, terrestrial restraints, misguided land and airwave regulation, or all the above, communities across the country, predominantly in rural America, lack adequate broadband infrastructure. The inequalities in finances, education, and social status, encountered by those without access to the Internet, versus those who do, has been coined the U.S. Digital Divide.

According to GeoLinks’ Co-Founder and CEO Skyler Ditchfield, there are “Five Crucial Steps Needed To Close The U.S. Digital Divide”. The final, and arguably most imperative item listed, is the need for America to adopt a technology-agnostic hybrid approach. While technologies such as 5G and Fiber were perhaps 2018’s most prominent buzzwords, Fixed Wireless, DSL, Satellite, and Cable, all play an equally vital role in closing the divide.

So, what technologies are available in rural America? Here are the pros and cons of various Rural Internet options:

Pros and Cons of Internet Options

Fixed Wireless Broadband

Fixed wireless provides high-speed broadband Internet access to a single location via radio waves. While capable of servicing both suburban and urban communities, Fixed Wireless Internet is most widely known for its ability to quickly reach and connect rural America.

Pros of Fixed Wireless:

  • Quick to deploy – Fixed Wireless networks can be deployed in a fraction of the time of competing wired technologies.
  • Cost effective – by avoiding costly trenching, fixed wireless networks are far less expensive to build and have a lower impact on the environment.
  • Widely available – because it uses radio waves, fixed wireless networks can reach areas “off the grid”, such as rural America.

Cons of Fixed Wireless:

  • Line of Sight (LOS) – because circuits require direct LOS, trees or large buildings in the connection path can cause signal interference.
  • Bandwidth can be more expensive than DSL, Cable, and some Satellite providers.

dsl-cable geolinks - rural internet

DSL Broadband 

DSL (Digital Subscriber Line) broadband is a wireline technology that transmits data over traditional copper telephone lines already installed to homes and businesses. Because it operates on pre-existing phone lines, when infrastructure is present, DSL can be installed quickly.

Pros of DSL:

  • Accessible – because DSL runs through phone lines, it is more widely available nationwide. (According to broadbandnow.com, DSL has 90% coverage nationwide.)
  • It’s relatively inexpensive – the cost to install and maintain is less than many other broadband technologies, such as Fiber.

Cons of DSL:

  • Slow speeds – DSL speeds are generally between 128 Kbps – 3 Mbps.
  • Inconsistent network quality – because circuit quality relies heavily on the distance from an ISP’s central hub, a major problem for many rural areas, speeds and network reliability are inconsistent.

Satellite Internet Vs. Fixed Wireless - GeoLinks

Satellite Internet

Satellite Internet beams data from your provider to a satellite in space, and then back to a dish at a user’s home or business. Historically, the technology has been primarily used to connect rural areas that don’t have access to wired services.

Pros of Satellite Internet:

  • Expansive availability – because it transmits to a satellite in space, it’s available virtually anywhere on earth.
  • Decent speeds – delivering speeds up to 100 Mbps, Satellite is faster than DSL.

Cons of Satellite Internet:

  • Latency issues – Satellite has inherent latency issues – this is especially problematic with video conferencing and VoIP applications.
  • Unreliable – circuit quality is susceptible to moisture (weather) and objects, such as trees and vegetation.
  • High cost – Satellite Internet is one of the most expensive broadband technologies on the market.

cable geolinks - rural internet

Cable Broadband

Cable Broadband utilizes a modem to provide access to the Internet through the same coaxial cables that deliver pictures and sound to a user’s television set. Mainly used to service residential customers, cable networks are considered shared circuits.

Pros of Cable Broadband:

  • Easy and quick to install – because it uses existing infrastructure, it has the potential to be immediately available.
  • Capacity to be substantially faster than other types of broadband connections such as satellite and DSL.

Cons of Cable Broadband:

  • Unreliable connection – Cable connections are shared with nearby users causing performance issues, such as varying speeds, during peak usage times.
  • Rural limitations – due to the lack of infrastructure extending outside of urban communities, cable is often not available.

  cellular-tower-geolinks - rural internet

Cellular Mobile Broadband

Mobile broadband delivers Internet over a mobile network – the same networks utilized by your smartphone. Mobile broadband can be accessed via portable wireless hotspots and wireless modems from anywhere that has a cellular connection.

Pros of Mobile Broadband:

  • Easy access – assuming there is reception in the area, it has the potential to be immediately available.
  • Quick and easy install – the ‘plug and play feature’ of this technology eliminates the need for physical cables, phone lines, or an electricity source.

Cons of Mobile Broadband:

  • Inconsistent coverage – If you live in a remote area, you may not get cellular reception, preventing access altogether.
  • Unreliable performance – Average mobiles speeds fall around 3 Mbps and fluctuate depending on location and the number of people connected to the network.
  • Capped data usage – To prevent network saturation, mobile broadband plans typically come with a data cap– go over and bills can get quite expensive.

flexible fiberoptic - geolinks

Fiber Broadband

Fiber broadband provides Internet access by converting electrical signals carrying data to light and sends the light through transparent glass fibers. It is one of, if not the most requested broadband technology on the market.

Pros of Fiber Broadband:

  • Speed – Fiber is capable of delivering multi-gig speeds making it one of the fastest broadband options on the market alongside fixed wireless.
  • Scalable and flexible bandwidth – once installed, bandwidth can be increased or decreased almost on-demand.

Cons of Fiber Broadband:

  • Not available everywhere – Fiber is currently available in only 25% of the country.
  • Expensive and slow to deploy – fiber optic cable is extremely costly to deploy and requires trenching (which is often stalled by lengthy permitting processes.)

While there are advantages and disadvantages to each Rural Internet option, when used together, these technologies can create a ubiquitous solution capable of delivering multi-gigabit bandwidth to all communities across the country. If the U.S. can collectively adapt to building out technology-agnostic hybrid networks, we can one day close the digital divide.

Want to see if GeoLinks’ Rural Internet Option, ClearFiber™, is available in your community?

 

 

 

Advantages and Disadvantages of Broadband Technologies for Rural America – Infographic

Advantages and Disadvantages of Broadband Technologies for Rural America

Infographic by GeoLinks

 

BroadbandTechnologiesforRuralAmerica_GeoLinks

Grow Food, Grow Jobs: How Broadband Can Boost Farming in California’s Central Valley

Original Article

The Central Valley of California is an enormous economic force, producing over one-third of the nation’s vegetables, two-thirds of its fruit and nuts, and contributing billions of dollars annually to the California economy. Unfortunately, many of California’s farming communities still lack reliable broadband Internet access. This lack prevents farmers from using cutting-edge technologies and real-time data inputs that would improve agricultural production, and severely hampers educational opportunities that support farming and growth. A particularly acute example of this is in the western Central Valley, where less than half of the population has access to broadband, the median income is $20,289, and agriculture is a leading economic driver. Government, education, and industry leaders in the area are working to provide communities with the resources they need to grow food as well as jobs.

Robert Tse, the California Rural Broadband Development Coordinator for the USDA and longtime organizer for California’s agricultural community, imagines what farmers can accomplish with greater connectivity. While working with technology developers and farmers, Robert has seen first-hand the benefits technology can bring. “When moisture sensors are deployed in fields,” Tse said, “agricultural economists have found that farmers can realize a 10 to 20% decrease in water use as well as a significant increase in field output.” In a state plagued by drought, using less water to grow more food is a major improvement. Benefits like these would have an immediate impact on farming communities and overall production. But, without broadband connectivity, such tools remain out of reach for many farmers.

Expanding connectivity also enables the dissemination of real-time information, like weather predictions and experimental approaches to crop management. One of the main missions of the UC Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources (UC ANR) is to provide farmers with up-to-date science and information. Gabe Youtsey, UC ANR’s chief innovation officer, emphasized how improved connectivity would further UC ANR’s mission: “To fulfill our education mission, research centers host local farmers at meetings and field days. With connectivity, those that live too far away to travel will be able to receive real-time video streams. Also, online learning can significantly expand the reach and impact of the 200 locally based cooperative extension advisors and specialists.” Several of UC ANR’s facilities now have broadband after being hooked up to the CalREN fiber backbone.

Vice Chancellor Linda Thomas of the West Hills Community College District is particularly in tune with the need for broadband access in conjunction with education. In her presentation at the 2018 CENIC annual conference, she cited the Brookings Institution’s summary of the impact poor connectivity has on education: “Rural communities are less likely to efficiently provide Internet access to students in public schools, as most rural schools lack access to high-speed fiber and pay more than twice as much for bandwidth. In a growing world of personalized online curricula, Internet-based research, and online testing, this severely restricts rural students from educational opportunities their urban counterparts may enjoy.” West Hills Community College offers academic degrees like agriculture science technology and irrigation engineering technology. These programs teach students to use cutting-edge farming technology and software, but operation of such tools requires fast, efficient broadband.

Yet extending access to these rural areas is often neglected, due to last-mile and middle-mile challenges. Laying fiber cable in the ground is not feasible in many places that remain disconnected. That’s where CEO Skyler Ditchfield and his company GeoLinks come in. GeoLinks is trailblazing the use of fixed wireless technologies to expand access with approaches that require less time and less infrastructure. “It can be difficult to meet the broadband needs of rural California with fiber connections alone,” said Ditchfield. “Fixed wireless broadband can meet the data needs, fiscal demands, and timeline to deploy these critical technologies across California.” GeoLinks uses solar and wind technologies to power carefully sited wireless towers that form a grid of connectivity across a community.

Now that wireless extension approaches have evolved enough to provide quality, reliable broadband to rural areas, the challenge is organizing community partners for widespread implementation. CENIC is partnering with organizations — as it has done with UC ANR, GeoLinks, and others — to develop plans for better connectivity, find funding to extend a wireless mesh into the unlinked reaches of the state, and ultimately help more farmers grow food and jobs. As Gabe Youtsey noted, “California communities must take control of their broadband future to ensure that everyone can participate in our digital economy by partnering to create new technologies and business models.”

Watch plenary panels and check out more content from the 2018 CENIC Annual Conference.

Camarillo-based GeoLinks acquires broadband provider Vectus

Original Article

Camarillo-based GeoLinks has acquired Southern California fixed wireless broadband provider Vectus.

The acquisition includes an outright procurement of the internet service provider’s fixed wireless network, key staff and existing customer base ultimately expanding GeoLinks’ existing ClearFiber™ network and coverage map.

The Vectus network offers dense coverage throughout Orange County, Riverside, San Bernardino and Los Angeles counties.

“With founding roots in Southern California, GeoLinks has been familiar with Vectus’ robust wireless network for quite some time,” said GeoLinks CEO Skyler Ditchfield. “When the opportunity to officially acquire Vectus came to the table, all parties knew immediately that merging networks would be seamless from an operations standpoint, and prove immensely beneficial to existing and future clientele. With contracts finalized, company migration will commence immediately, enabling GeoLinks to further expand its coverage map while simultaneously increasing our overall network capacity, redundancy and ability to deliver higher bandwidth.”

David Saylor, president and chief technology officer of Vectus, said: “Post-acquisition, I have full confidence that all existing Vectus customers will continue to receive the same exceptional service they’ve become accustomed to. At our cores, GeoLinks and Vectus have synergistic beliefs — always put the customer first. By combining assets, all current and future customers will now have access to an even more resilient and redundant wireless network.”

The companies’ clients will encounter no disruptions of service during the network transition, GeoLinks said.

GeoLinks Selects IgniteNet MetroLinq for Multi-gigabit Connectivity

GeoLinks Selects IgniteNet

GeoLinks, a leading telecommunications company ranked the no. 5 fastest growing telecom in America by Inc. 5000 in 2017, announced today that it has selected IgniteNet’s MetroLinq platform to power its award-winning ClearFiber™ network

GeoLinks’ ClearFiber™ network offers businesses unlimited bandwidth, real network redundancy, and guaranteed speeds reaching up to 10 Gbps. With the company’s recent network expansion, finding a reliable multi-gigabit wireless connectivity solution became increasingly critical to ensure quality of service. IgniteNet’s MetroLinq platform met this challenge and has been approved for deployment after a series of thorough benchmark tests in the field.

“We first learned about IgniteNet’s exciting product line a couple years ago,” said GeoLinks’ CEO Skyler Ditchfield. “We’ve been engaging with their technical and executive teams ever since. We officially began alpha testing with them well over a year ago and have seen great direction in their new product sets in the millimeter and microwave bands. We’re excited to continue working together on new products moving forward that will provide even greater range and bandwidth than the current offerings they have today.”

“We are really happy to be working with GeoLinks to power their highest-capacity ClearFiber™ network. MetroLinq products are a perfect solution for serving business customers not only because of high capacity, but also because it is license and noise free. In addition, the 60 GHz mmwave band is ideal for secure, low latency last mile dedicated access applications allowing service providers to offer fiber like connectivity at a much lower cost. The MetroLinq 10G Omnialso provide access on 3 different bands (60GHz, 5GHz, and 2.4GHz), enabling customers to build universal networks capable to of providing backhaul, last mile connectivity, and Wi-Fi access from the same, compact device, greatly simplifying the deployment saving space and cost.” – says Harold Bledsoe, President of IgniteNet.

About Geolinks

Headquartered in Southern California, GeoLinks is a leading telecommunications company and competitive local exchange carrier (CLEC) public utility, nationally recognized for its innovative Internet and Hosted Voice solutions. Ranked the No. 1 Fastest Growing WISP in America by Inc. Magazine, 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 dedicated business-class Internet with unlimited bandwidth, true network redundancy, and guaranteed speeds reaching up to 10 Gbps. Named “Most Disruptive Technology” in the 2018 Central Coast Innovation Awards, GeoLinks’ ClearFiber™ network is backed by a carrier-grade Service Level Agreement boasting 99.999% uptime and 24/7 in-house customer support. With an average installation period of 4 to 7 days, GeoLinks is proud to offer the most resilient and scalable fixed wireless network on the market.

About IgniteNet

Headquartered in Irvine, CA, IgniteNet is a wholly owned subsidiary of SMC Networks, Inc. IgniteNet has a proven track record of producing powerful, reliable, easy to deploy, and innovative cloud managed wireless solutions and the industry’s lowest cost 60 GHz wireless technology through channel partners worldwide, focusing on Enterprises and Service Providers. For more information, please visit http://www.ignitenet.com.

What is Fixed Wireless Internet?

An introduction to Fixed Wireless Internet and the Fastest Growing WISP in America

 

GeoLinks Announces Vectus Acquisition and ClearFiber™ Network Expansion

California’s fastest growing telecom, GeoLinks, announces acquisition of wireless Internet provider Vectus.

GeoLinks is thrilled to officially announce its acquisition of Southern California fixed wireless broadband provider, Vectus. The acquisition includes an outright procurement of the ISP’s robust fixed wireless network, key staff, and existing customer base ultimately expanding GeoLinks’ existing ClearFiber™ network and coverage map.

Founded by seasoned industry professionals in 2006, Vectus has become known as one of California’s leading providers of Ethernet over fixed wireless Internet services. Presently, the Vectus network offers dense coverage throughout Orange County, Riverside, San Bernardino, and Los Angeles Counties.

“With founding roots in Southern California, GeoLinks has been familiar with Vectus’s robust wireless network for quite some time,” said GeoLinks CEO Skyler Ditchfield. “When the opportunity to officially acquire Vectus came to the table, all parties knew immediately that merging networks would be seamless from an operations standpoint, and prove immensely beneficial to existing and future clientele. With contracts finalized, company migration will commence immediately, enabling GeoLinks to further expand its coverage map while simultaneously increasing our overall network capacity, redundancy, and ability to deliver higher bandwidth.”

President and CTO of Vectus, David Saylor, agreed with Ditchfield that the acquisition was a natural and strategic fit for both entities. “Post-acquisition, I have full confidence that all existing Vectus customers will continue to receive the same exceptional service they’ve become accustomed to. At our cores, GeoLinks and Vectus have synergistic beliefs—always put the customer first. By combining assets, all current and future customers will now have access to an even more resilient and redundant wireless network. Skyler and GeoLinks are highly respected leaders and innovators in the world of telecom, and I speak on behalf of the entire Vectus team when I say that we’re extremely pleased to be combining forces and joining their efforts.”

Both Vectus and GeoLinks’ existing clients will encounter no disruptions of service during the network transition. GeoLinks looks forward to announcing further details on increased network offerings in the upcoming months.

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About GeoLinks

Headquartered in Southern California, GeoLinks is a leading telecommunications company and competitive local exchange carrier (CLEC) public utility, nationally recognized for its innovative Internet and Hosted Voice solutions. Named the Fastest Growing WISP 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 dedicated business-class Internet with unlimited bandwidth, true network redundancy, and guaranteed speeds reaching up to 10 Gbps. Named “Most Disruptive Technology” in the 2018 Central Coast Innovation Awards, GeoLinks’ ClearFiber™ network is backed by a carrier-grade Service Level Agreement boasting 99.999% uptime and 24/7 in-house customer support. With an average installation period of 4 to 7 days, GeoLinks is proud to offer the most resilient and scalable fixed wireless network on the market.

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 Wireless Internet Service Providers Association (WISPA), the Broadband Consortium of the Pacific Coast (BCPC), and the FCC’s Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee’s (BDAC) Streamlining Federal Siting Working Group.In 2018 GeoLinks was awarded the Corporate Partnership Award by the Corporation For Education Network Initiatives In California (CENIC) for serving the research and education community in California.