WASHINGTON, December 4, 2023 – Envisioning the first Digital Infrastructure Investment Summit four years ago, we came with this vantage point: The business models surrounding future broadband networks were changing.
Then the COVID-19 pandemic happened. It demonstrated just how dependent we are, as a world, upon high-quality broadband.
The vision for the annual Digital Infrastructure Investment event has been about uniting infrastructure investment fund managers, institutional investors, private equity and venture capitalists with senior broadband leaders in order to bring clarity to the next business model for advanced digital infrastructure. The in person event will take place at Clyde’s of Gallery Place, 707 7th Street NW in Washington. Doors open at 8:30 a.m.
Registration for the Digital Infrastructure Investment Summit is $245. Registration for the Digital Infrastructure Investment Summit webcast is $35.
At the in person and live online program on Tuesday, December 5, Digital Infrastructure Investment Summit will begin with panel on “Investment In and Beyond BEAD,” the Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment grant program. The discussion will feature Kenrick (Rick) Gordon, Director, Maryland Office of Statewide Broadband, Thomas Tyler, Deputy Director, Connect Louisiana, Brian Vo, Chief Investment Officer at Connect Humanity, and be moderated by Maria Curi, Reporter, Axios.
The session aims to capture how the broadband infrastructure expansion hinges on the availability of sufficient funding, be it from federal, state, local, or private channels. Beyond the hundreds of millions (and frequently billions) of dollars earmarked for each state under the Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment program, internet service providers must also obtain at least 25% of the project’s cost in matching funds. Where will this funding come from? What implications does this requirement hold for smaller and municipal providers? And, for those ISPs not interested in BEAD, what financing opportunities are available now that weren’t there previously?
Panel 2, which I’ll have the privilege of moderating, addresses “Shared Infrastructure and the Future of Vertical Real Estate.” This session will feature Jonathan Adelstein, Managing Director and Head of Global Policy and Public Investment at DigitalBridge Investment Management, David E. Bronston, Special Counsel, Phillips Lytle LLP, and Greg McLaughlin, CEO, AEX Automation Exchange.
The program springboards off the notion that urbanization and smart city deployments are among the trends driving the transformation of shared infrastructure. The post-pandemic surge in remote work and the nationwide push for universal and affordable high-speed internet access, generally through fiber, raises an important question: What’s next for “vertical infrastructure”? How is wireless infrastructure being capitalized? How is wireless infrastructure connected to fiber builds? Are small-cell deployments proceeding vigorously? And what role will “managed services” within multiple dwelling units, commercial and enterprise environments play in driving smart and hybrid networks?
Just before lunch, we’ll hear keynote remarks from Mikael Philipsson, CEO of COS Systems, a BSS/OSS software provider for broadband operators to enable zero touch automation and Open Access. He will address “The Past and Future of Open Access.”
And, following lunch, we’ll here a session, moderated by Christopher Mitchell of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance’s Community Broadband Networks Program, on “Developments in Open Access: Is Change in the Offing?”
The United States is still early in its experimentation with open access networks. But countries including Sweden have seen widespread success in implementing this model. Open access networks aim to deliver affordable and high-speed internet even to remote, low-return areas. But various policy and operational challenges are often needed before this model can see the fullest adoption. With an array of new market developments in the United States from both incumbents, scrappy equity-based investors and municipalities, does the future for open access on these shores look brighter?
Featured panelists on this panel include Scott Bradshaw, President, SiFi Networks, Robert Bridgham, Executive Director, Eastern Shore of Virginia Broadband Authority, and Jeff Reiman, President, The Broadband Group.
Our concluding Panel 4 bring a vital new mix to this discussion: The role of data centers and Internet Exchange Points. Substantial investments are directed by the BEAD program toward last-mile fiber infrastructure. Middle mile, backhaul access and data centers almost seem left out of the current conversation. Despite this lower profile, ISPs seeking to deploy better broadband understand all too well the significance of internet exchange points that facilitate the exchange of data between various networks.
They are vital to reducing latency and lowering costs. Notably, 14 U.S. states and 3 territories currently lack IXPs. What obstacles do IXPs face? How will more IXPs facilitate the data center and cloud computing revolutions? What’s next for IXPs and data centers?
Moderated by Peter Cohen, Principal Program Manager, Microsoft, featured panelists on this session include Scott K. Brown, President, The Pixel Factory, Tom Cox, Vice President of State Government Affairs, Connected Nation, Ron da Silva, Network Technologies Global, Saras Partner, and Ben Hedges, Vice President Network Strategy, Cyxtera.
Registration for the Digital Infrastructure Investment Summit is $245.
Registration for the Digital Infrastructure Investment Summit webcast is $35.
With either option, you’ll have access to the high-quality video recordings of the day’s events.