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Letter from FBA President & CEO

Dear FBA Members,

We are in the best of times for the fiber industry as we work to build the nation’s critical broadband infrastructure, elevating the quality of life for generations to come. You can find a recap of our activities in 2023 and our plans to make 2024 even better in “Looking Back and Forth: FBA’s 2023 Accomplishments, 2024 Objectives” and the industry’s continued progress in “North American Fiber Growth Hits Highest Annual Record.”

It’s easy to take the speed and reliability of fiber for granted if you have it, but there are still many areas that are unserved or underserved. Fiber Forward Editor-in-Chief Doug Mohney was reminded of this at CES 2024, where he met a gentleman running over 10,000 acres of farmland but not a single strand of fiber available to support his large-scale business. His “Editor’s Moment – Fiber’s Time to Work” is a sober reminder that we’ve still got plenty of work to do in the years ahead. 

Rural areas are not the only places facing fiber challenges as you’ll find in “A Tale of Two Cities – The Urban Fiber Struggle.” You may not think of Ft. Worth, Texas, or Newark, New Jersey, as digital deserts, but those cities are wrestling with their own obstacles to deliver quality broadband to their residents. 

One of the issues facing both Ft. Worth and Newark are a lack of affordable middle mile capacity, an issue which affects both urban and rural areas. It’s especially important for precision agriculture, as you’ll see in the article, “Plenty of Work for New Middle Mile and Precision Agriculture Committees.” 

Co-ops and municipality-owned utilities are doing so much for their communities. In “Fiber Supercharging Utilities for Today and Tomorrow,” you’ll learn about the second-fastest ISP in the country, Pulse, a subsidiary of the City of Loveland’s municipality-run utility and recognized by PCMag for their excellence. 

You’ll also find a cross-over piece between utilities and middle mile in “Dominion Energy Powers Up Middle-Mile in Virginia.” Publicly-owned Dominion is providing critical middle-mile fiber to bridge the digital divide in Virginia, working with co-op utilities and others as partners to close the digital divide across the state. 

Deploying fiber is a multi-generational solution for upgrading and sustaining economic growth and social prosperity in the years to come. “The Wonders and Wows of CES 2024” digs into the latest tech trends that will impact our daily lives in the years to come, highlighting the impact and need for deploying the best available solution for households and businesses that will last for decades to come. Congratulations to FBA member Lumen Technologies and its ecosystem of partners for building and rolling out the first certified Wi-Fi 7 at CES this year. 

One area highlighted in the CES 2024 piece we’ll all want to keep an eye on is AARP’s AgeTech incubator, which features many companies using AI, VR, and health tech to provide comfort and quality of life to the elderly, especially when they desire to live as independently as possible for as long as they can. You can’t age at home or use any of the many other wonders demonstrated at CES this year without high-speed, low-latency broadband.

Unfortunately, there continue to be some who argue for short-sighted “good enough” broadband solutions that will have to be replaced every five years rather than recognizing that such solutions A) require continued spending for upgrades down the road, repeating the DSL cycle, which B) Creates a new digital divide. Fiber will continue to provide reliable, future-proof broadband for decades to come, long after Elon Musk has migrated to Mars. 


Gary Bolton