The Age of Telecom: How Time is Transforming the Industry

My Point of View from the USAC Board of Directors

By: Brent Fontana, Senior Director, Zayo Group

Times change – and what was once the height of technology is now an outdated relic. Camera memory cards that used to be 2Mb are now routinely 2GB.  Who would ever go back to the Friday nights spent browsing the aisles at your video store versus today’s world of feature films a click away on Apple TV or Netflix?

Fiber Splicing-telecom– Or waiting for photo negatives to be processed versus  the instant gratification of digital photo results? Or the whirring and clicking of faxes versus instant communications? And just like these examples of bygone technologies, the traditional incumbent copper and coaxial networks are giving way to the world of fiber optic networking.

Business have been in the throes of this change for over a decade now — moving their mission-critical data and applications away from costly and slow incumbent solutions to competitive fiber optic networks. And since its inception, Zayo has been bringing cutting-edge fiber optic communications infrastructure solutions to businesses navigating the change.

Over the past nine years, Zayo has been a strong advocate of public-private partnerships that bring advanced telecommunication products and services to communities across America. We’ve provided fiber connectivity for municipal governments, school districts and healthcare service providers. Our focus is high-performance, cost-efficient solutions that enable significant improvements in capability and community. That’s why we’ve partnered closely with a range of public organizations and built relationships at all levels of government.

Continuing to ThriveThe afterglow of transmission tower

Earlier this month, I was honored to receive an appointment by FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler to join the Universal Service Administration Company (USAC) Board of Directors. USAC traces its origins to the original Federal Communications Act of 1934, and its principal mission is to provide all Americans with access to a baseline level of telecommunications services.

In today’s world of telecommunications, the focus has shifted from traditional telephone services to the communications infrastructure services that Zayo provides, like high-speed Internet and programs that support consumers, rural health care and schools and libraries (E-rate). Our role as volunteer board members is to oversee this administration of the fund, ensuring that the money is managed effectively in support of the USAC mission.

It’s a role I take very seriously, and my philosophy is to maximize positive outcomes, make equitable decisions with a focus on efficiency, transparency and accountability. Times change, which means the need for governance from all industry sectors is more important than ever.