Backhaul Strategies: Looking to 2015
Patrick Donegan, Founder and Principal Analyst, HardenStance
"T1 is like pizza -- you order it, you get it. The problem is, you order it for dinner and you get it for lunch next day, it's cold, there's no topping, and there's only one store you can get it from -- and that's Pizza Hut."
So said Ali Afrashteh, VP of access technologies for Sprint Nextel, at Light Reading's first ever "Backhaul Strategies" conference in September 2006. (See How Is T1 Like a Pizza? and Sprint Eyes WiMax Backhaul.)
With LTE cell sites now often served by anywhere from 100 Mbit/s to 300 Mbit/s of bandwidth in a much more competitive environment, to say that the business of backhaul networks in the US has changed would be an understatement.
And a disproportionately large share of the credit for that belongs to Dave Mayo, T-Mobile's VP Technology Strategy, Finance & Development. Mayo first shared his vision of long-term fiber-based wholesale partnering deals with our Backhaul Strategies conference in 2008. And he'll be delivering a keynote speech again at our upcoming annual conference -- the ninth in the series -- in New York on October 29.
Mayo is a proven mold-breaker. Thanks to his leadership in incentivizing new fiber-based players into the market with long-term contracts, he provided the initial impetus that drove the participation of more than 35 Alternative Access Vendors (AAVs) delivering backhaul services to all of the US's mobile operators. So with new demands from some operators for dark fiber, new possibilities and risks arising with SDN and NFV, and ongoing wrestling with the thorny opportunities and challenges around providing backhaul for small cells, Mayo's guidance to this year's conference-goers is eagerly awaited.
One of the first companies that T-Mobile cut a deal with for new fiber-based backhaul back in 2008 was Zayo. And guess what? We also have Zayo speaking at the conference in the form of Senior Vice President Dave Jones. And there's more -- fresh from gaining Carrier Ethernet 2.0 certification from the Metro Ethernet Forum, Cox Business will be represented by its own speaker, Senior Director Jay Clark.
Another leading light who last left an indelible mark on a previous year's Backhaul Strategies conference is Ron Mudry, CEO of Tower Cloud. Having recently landed a deal to provide the backhaul for Verizon Wireless' small cell backhaul deployment in Atlanta's Centennial Olympic Park, Mudry has a longer speaking slot and a broader remit at this year's event than at our previous conferences.
In the past I've asked him just to update us on Tower Cloud's rollouts, performance and achievements in the south and south east of the US. But Ron Mudry is such a class act, this year I've asked him go crashing through the boundaries of that remit and instead give us his end-to-end take on where broader network technology and business model drivers are taking the US's backhaul ecosystem and what the implications are for the market's AAVs.
Backhaul Strategies isn't just an annual reunion of old friends. We're infusing this year's conference with some important new blood as well. Adrian Berezowsky, president of IVI Telecom Services Inc., is going to tell us about all of the operational and logistical challenges around small cells and small cell backhaul that we need to pay close attention to, many of which have little or nothing to do with telecom technology. Berezowsky comes to us strongly recommended by one of his Tier 1 service provider customers. It'll be interesting to see how his perspective sits alongside Mudry's as well as those of our other service provider speakers.
And last, but by no means least, we will also have Verizon Global Wholesale represented. Another speaker who can't keep away, Brendan Gunn, manager, product management, will give our audience an update on the status of Verizon's mobile backhaul business, with implications for where his mobile operator customers are headed, and emerging requirements for his own supplier ecosystem.
If you're looking to understand next steps in the evolution of the US's backhaul networks, there's really no other place to be.
— Patrick Donegan, Senior Analyst, Heavy Reading