WASHINGTON, D.C.—(December 8, 2022)—The Fiber Broadband Association today announced it has won two Leading Lights Awards, presented by Light Reading. The awards program recognizes the communications industry’s top companies and executives for outstanding achievements in next-generation technology, applications, services, strategies, and innovation. Gary Bolton, the Fiber Broadband Association’s President and CEO, was recognized as a Light Reading MVP. The Association’s Optical Telecom Installer Certification (OpTIC Path™) Course and Program won an Editor’s Choice Award for Best Public-Private Partnership.
“It is an exciting time across the communications industry, and especially in fiber broadband with incredible opportunity created from the NTIA Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment infrastructure funding program. The Fiber Broadband Association continues to work diligently to create awareness about the critical capabilities that only fiber can deliver and educate policy makers to support fiber deployments so that every community can take advantage of the benefits of high-quality internet,” said Bolton. “We are honored to receive these awards and recognition. I also congratulate the entire Fiber Broadband Association ecosystem on its accomplishments. Our leadership, members, and partners have collaborated to advance fiber broadband infrastructure, funding, and training. I applaud our industry’s cohesive efforts and look forward to our continued progress toward closing the digital equity gap.”
The Light Reading MVP award recognizes communications industry individuals who made an unmistakable difference in their company, community, and/or culture. For years, Bolton has led an organized effort to connect North America to high-quality, fiber-based broadband services. His impact on the fiber broadband industry intensified when joining the Fiber Broadband Association as president and CEO in 2020. Under Bolton’s leadership, the association has driven bipartisan support for broadband infrastructure investment, resulting in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), driven critical workforce development efforts, expanded the association’s research, and published the widely-adopted Broadband Infrastructure Playbook to help state broadband offices, policy makers, and community leaders make broadband decisions that will impact their communities for decades. During the past year, the association increased company membership by 50%, grew its annual Fiber Connect event attendance by 41%, and launched several new programs including its OpTIC Path fiber technician training program, the Regional Fiber Connect Workshop series, and the quarterly Fiber Forward member magazine.
The Leading Lights award for Best Public-Private Partnership recognizes organizations working together to expand broadband access and narrow the digital divide for municipalities and community institutions including school districts, nonprofits, and other public sector organizations. The Fiber Broadband Association created the OpTIC Path course to fill the skilled fiber technician workforce gap, build long lasting careers, and support the significant increase in fiber network builds expected across North America due to the more than $42 billion in Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) program funding.
“There is more demand today than ever before to build broadband networks, but a serious workforce gap exists that threatens the success of these networks to get built safely, correctly, and efficiently. The OpTIC Path program was created to train the fiber technicians who will be essential to fulfilling the NTIA’s BEAD initiative,” said Mark Boxer, Technical Manager, Solutions and Applications Engineering at OFS; Fiber Broadband Association Board Member; and Lead for Fiber Broadband Association’s Training and Certification Program. “We have partnered with industry associations, service providers, veteran organizations, and community and technical colleges to create a valuable course instilling fiber knowledge, hands-on skills, and work-related values to train the next generation of capable fiber technicians.”
Since its inception, the OpTIC Path program continues to expand to more schools and attract more service providers to get involved. The Fiber Broadband Association is currently engaged with 38 states to roll out the program with their community college systems and fiber optic broadband service providers and it continues to gain momentum in reaching all 50 states and the U.S. territories.
About the Fiber Broadband Association
The Fiber Broadband Association is the largest and only trade association that represents the complete fiber ecosystem of service providers, manufacturers, industry experts, and deployment specialists dedicated to the advancement of fiber broadband deployment and the pursuit of a world where communications are limitless, advancing quality of life and digital equity anywhere and everywhere. The Fiber Broadband Association helps providers, communities, and policy makers make informed decisions about how, where, and why to build better fiber broadband networks. Since 2001, these companies, organizations, and members have worked with communities and consumers in mind to build the critical infrastructure that provides the economic and societal benefits that only fiber can deliver. The Fiber Broadband Association is part of the Fibre Council Global Alliance, which is a platform of six global FTTH Councils in North America, LATAM, Europe, MEA, APAC, and South Africa. Learn more at fiberbroadband.org.