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Q & A With Fiber Broadband Association President & CEO Heather Burnett Gold

We just announced a big change for the leading trade association for the fiber industry in the Americas. As this innovative industry has changed and evolved, the Fiber to the Home Council Americas continues to evolve with it, change our name to the Fiber Broadband Association. And it’s not simply a name change.

We had a chance to talk to Fiber Broadband Association President and CEO, Heather Burnett Gold, about it:

Why did the Association feel that it was time for a name change?

Just as the Internet itself has evolved from simple emails and web pages to a vibrant ecosystem of applications and services across multiple industry sectors, our members have broadened their businesses and outlook to focus on how the fiber industry is growing to support the 21st century economy in new technologies and intersecting industries — next generation wireless (5G) services, health care technologies, SMART communities, the personal and industrial Internet of Things (IoT) and more. We still believe in fiber to the home as the best broadband access technology for consumers, but we are expanding our focus, for example to include fiber to the business and fiber to cellular sites.

Our association has a long history of supporting the rapidly-evolving ways we connect, and we’ve been there from the beginning. We started out over 15 years ago as a group of forward-looking companies in an industry just in its infancy. Companies — and consumers — were just starting to get the hang of the Internet and figuring out what it could do for them. Our members were laying fiber, with speeds and capacity that were previously unknown. This was a critical component of the “virtuous cycle,” wherein the better networks fed by fiber led to more powerful applications and services and more widespread adoption.

Over the last decade, as this cycle of innovation accelerated into an entire industry built on the Internet, our members have rapidly developed new generations of technologies to take advantage of the nearly limitless capacity of fiber optics. They’ve deployed thousands of miles of that fiber throughout the country, which now passes 30 million homes in the United States. And in just the last 3 years, North America has experienced record growth in fiber to homes with 2016 year over year growth totaling 16 percent.

But homes are just the beginning. Our members are building networks to connect entire communities, enterprises, and supporting the high-speed broadband connectivity that is now critical to every aspect of our lives. The innovations created by our members now delivers 10’s of Gigabits per second over individual wavelengths from tunable optics. Our members are delivering the cloud-based technology and solutions that provide the potential for near limitless scale and service agility. So we are entering a whole new world of full integration of seamless communications to everywhere and everything. And that’s what our Association represents.

How did you decide on Fiber Broadband Association?

Our new name, the Fiber Broadband Association, brings us to where industry has evolved, and the arrival of fiber, not just to the “home”, but as the critical infrastructure of our economy. The new brand reflects this vision, guiding the scope of our activities, membership base and brand promise. Fiber is at the crossroads of the innovation and delivery of broadband, and the “Fiber Broadband Association” is right there with it.

What can members and the fiber industry expect to see from the Fiber Broadband Association in the future?

The Fiber Broadband Association’s mission will continue to accelerate deployment of all-fiber access networks by demonstrating how fiber-enabled applications and solutions create value for network operators and their customers, promote economic development and enhance quality of life. Our focus and commitment to being the “go to” organization supporting providers, utilities, developers and communities building the world’s best broadband networks with fiber optics and getting the most value out of their networks, remains the same. And of course, we will continue to educate communities, consumers and policymakers about the highest-performing broadband available, the benefits and how it’s relevant to all our lives.


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