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The Broadband 50 to Watch

Life is full of contradictions, and so is the Internet. One of those contradictions is that there are more people online than ever before and yet unequal access to the Internet is starker than ever.

According to data gathered by Cisco Systems, the world will have 5.3 billion Internet users by 2023. The population that year is forecast to be around 8.1 billion. In the US alone, according to the FCC, there are nearly 17 million schoolchildren who lack the Internet at home. While there is a lot of work left to shrink the digital divide, there is also another undisputed truth about broadband: The more we have, the more we want.

'Broadband' by Sean MacEntee is licensed under CC BY 2.0

"Broadband" by Sean MacEntee is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The global average broadband speed continues to grow and will more than double from 2018 to 2023, from 45.9 Mbit/s to 110.4 Mbit/s, according to Cisco. By 2025, 34% of North American broadband homes are forecast to subscribe to speed tiers above 500 Mbit/s, according to Omdia. So those are the two extremes: Some aren't connected at all. Some can't get enough. All of it poses a staggering opportunity ahead for the communications executives in this space.

To help navigate what's happening in this part of the global communications marketplace, we've compiled the Broadband 50 to Watch, a list of influential leaders, innovators and disrupters who are connecting the world in 2021. We're keeping an eye on these executives and think you should, too, as they're moving this part of the industry forward.

On the next page, you can read about the industry leaders who topped our list and why we selected them. Here, below, is a table listing everyone in this year's Broadband 50 to Watch, in alphabetical order:

Table 1: The Broadband 50 to Watch (in alphabetical name order)

Company / Organization First Name Last Name Title
Tibit Communications Edward Boyd VP Engineering, CTO, and Co-founder
RtBrick Richard Brandon VP of Marketing
MTN South Africa Gioavanni Chiarelli Chief Technology & Information Officer
PCCW/HKT Carlson Chu SVP Technology Strategy and Development
CommScope Tom Cloonan Interim CTO
Viavi Stephen Colangelo Business Development Manager - Fiber
Plume Fahri Diner CEO and Co-founder
Telus Darren Entwistle President and CEO
Airties Nicolas Fortineau Chief Marketing Officer
ETNO (European Telecommunications Network Operators Association) Lise Fuhr Director General
Poland - Office of Electronic Communications Agnieszka Gladysz Director, Department of Strategy and Analysis
Casa Systems Jerry Guo President and CEO
National Broadband Ireland Peter Hendrick CEO
Ciena Wayne Hickey Senior Advisor, Product Marketing
Vodacom Dejan Kastelic CTO
Adtran Ronan Kelly CTO EMEA & APAC Regions
Broadcom Glen Kramer Technical Director
Vecima Networks Sumit Kumar CEO
Cable One Julie Laulis CEO
Izzi Telecom Israel Madiedo Innovation and Technology Director
Harmonic Asaf Matatyaou VP, Solutions and Product Management, Cable Edge Business
CableLabs Phil McKinney CEO
Corning Cate McNaught Emerging Applications Market Development Manager
MTN Group Charles Molapisi Group Chief Technology Officer
Clearfield Kevin Morgan CMO
Exfo Philippe Morin CEO
Teleste Hanno Narjus CEO Teleste Intercept / SVP Teleste
Safaricom George Njuguna CIO
Iskratel Janez Ori Strategy, Innovation and Digitalization Director
Open Fiber Elisabetta Ripa CEO
Chorus Kurt Rodgers Network Strategy Manager
The Cable Center Jay Rolls Board Member
HiLight Semiconductor Christian Rookes VP of Marketing
SK Telecom Hongseok Shin Senior Manager
Starlink by SpaceX Gwynne Shotwell President and COO
Proximus Geert Standaert CTO
Siklu Dave Sumi VP of Marketing
UTOPIA Fiber Roger Timmerman CEO
Positron Access Solutions Pierre Trudeau President and CTO
Airtel Africa Razvan Ungureanu CTO
Orange Thierry Valette VP of Operations, Transformation, and Performance
Nokia Stefaan Vanhastel CTO, Fixed Networks
Directorate‑General for Communications Networks, Content and Technology (DG-CONNECT) Roberto Viola Director-General
DZS Charlie Vogt CEO
Calix Michael Weening President and COO
ATX Networks Dan Whalen CEO
Vodafone Johan Wibergh Group Technology Officer
Megacable Enrique Yamuni CEO
ZCorum Rick Yuzzi Vice President
(Source: Informa Tech, Omdia and Light Reading)

The process of making a list like this is always a team effort and, in this case, that team included veteran industry journalists like Connecting Africa's Paula Gilbert and Nicole Ferraro, a Light Reading contributor and the host of The Divide podcast. Omdia analysts Julie Kunstler and Jaimie Lenderman also helped put this list together and helped guide us to cover a wide array of broadband companies and countries. Informa Tech's Francesca Greane also assisted in the production process and keeping us on schedule.

Phil Harvey, Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading


The Broadband 50 to Watch was compiled by editors and analysts across Informa Tech, including journalists from Light Reading, and analysts from Omdia. Download it as a free PDF here.


Editor's note: This list was originally published on Light Reading's sister website, Broadband World News, on July 20.

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The Broadband 50 to Watch Top Ten List

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