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.
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|
|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|
|Adtran||Ronan||Kelly||CTO EMEA & APAC Regions|
|Izzi Telecom||Israel||Madiedo||Innovation and Technology Director|
|Harmonic||Asaf||Matatyaou||VP, Solutions and Product Management, Cable Edge Business|
|Corning||Cate||McNaught||Emerging Applications Market Development Manager|
|MTN Group||Charles||Molapisi||Group Chief Technology Officer|
|Teleste||Hanno||Narjus||CEO Teleste Intercept / SVP Teleste|
|Iskratel||Janez||Ori||Strategy, Innovation and Digitalization Director|
|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|
|Siklu||Dave||Sumi||VP of Marketing|
|Positron Access Solutions||Pierre||Trudeau||President and 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|
|Calix||Michael||Weening||President and COO|
|Vodafone||Johan||Wibergh||Group Technology Officer|
|(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
Editor's note: This list was originally published on Light Reading's sister website, Broadband World News, on July 20.
NEXT PAGE:The Broadband 50 to Watch Top Ten List