We are thrilled to welcome Frank DeJoy as the newest member of #TeamRender's executive team. Frank's extensive industry and leadership experience will play a critical role in accelerating Render's market development efforts. In addition, strengthen our ability to delight Render's growing customer portfolio with value-add domain expertise and best-in-class deployment technology. We sat down with Frank to hear his perspective on some of the key market drivers informing our industry and the role of technology in simplifying the path ahead.
To say we are excited to have you onboard is an understatement. Could you tell us a little about the journey that led you to #TeamRender?
I have been working in telecommunications and technology for about thirty years, which included executive roles at AT&T, General Dynamics, Dycom, and Quanta Services. During these assignments, I helped our teams and customers plan, deploy, and operate large scale fiber and wireless networks. Most recently, I held executive roles in launching a hybrid fiber/wireless Competitive Local Exchange Carrier (CLEC) in California and global software startups in IoT cybersecurity and wireless network management.
Proud moments in that journey include leading AT&T's network teams through the growth of AT&T’s first wireless data network from its inception through its support of over $1B in annual revenues within three years and a team at Engineering Associates who designed, permitted and inspected Clackamas County’s fiber network, which was recognized as a "Broadband Fiber Network of the Year" by the National Association of Telecommunications Officers & Advisors (NATOA).
Given your deep history in the industry, how are you seeing network projects evolve?
Advances in technology coupled with telecommute mandates caused by COVID-19 are driving even greater demands for internet data. Broadband networks require fiber connectivity throughout their backbone, feeder, distribution, and radio access networks to macro cell sites and small cells. In addition, recent federal initiatives such as the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) and the 5G Fund are incenting carriers to cover larger areas of unserved rural America. Large-scale broadband network deployments will be under strict schedule and cost constraints, requiring carriers to employ efficient methods and quality management processes, which is where Render and our partners can help.
What are some of the opportunities you believe telecom or utility networks can capitalize on that perhaps they are not doing now?
Network owners are managing through unprecedented demand from COVID-19 telecommute mandates on top of traditional operations which is quite a challenge, and they have handled it well overall. In terms of opportunities, I would recommend optimizing tools utilized for network engineering, deployment and operations, and also those used for end-to-end customer experience management.
You have touched on engineering and deployment technology as an efficiency enabler. Where do you believe the industry is on this journey, and what could accelerate utilization?
The industry is currently mixed in its adoption of technology as an efficiency enabler. For example, some wireline carriers may be using new big data tools for project management, where others may be adopting machine learning tools for marketing and customer service. I see similar adoption trends across wireless operators. A common denominator is all wireline and wireless operators are working to become more efficient and provide quality service, they are just focusing on different priorities at different times.
Technology is also an important enabler of success in the upcoming RDOF auction. Technology and tools, especially those with the ability to synthesize and process big data, will play a significant role in helping carriers more efficiently plan, deploy, and operate their networks in compliance with RDOF requirements.
Can you share your perspective on the criticality of fiber infrastructure for 5G? What changes in deployment methods will enable a 5G reality, faster?
5G networks are being designed to enable gigabit speeds with millisecond latencies. Such robust capacities through the airwaves require additional fiber capacity throughout and between the 5G core and radio access networks. In addition, the number of small cells in the network needed for 5G coverage is expected to grow in the hundred of thousands, driving even greater demand for fiber capacity. As an example, Verizon's CEO shared during an interview that he expects the company will need to deploy 1,400 route miles of fiber each month over the next few years to build out the network that it needs to support nationwide 5G.
Turning focus now to Render, our mission is to continuously innovate and evolve technology to build networks better, what does that mean to you?
The combination of fiber broadband domain expertise and big data SaaS technology has led to the development of a truly innovative solution. Render's construction work management platform provides customers with paperless fiber network engineering and construction processes that synchronize data in real-time across all stakeholders. These capabilities result in reduced costs, reduced time-to-market, and advanced quality control for large-scale network build projects. The Render team also focused on staying abreast of customer requirements and innovations that can provide even greater value in future platform iterations.
How would you describe Render in 3 words?
Can-do, collaborative and innovative.
What excites you the most about joining Render?
I am excited about the potential impact of an end-to-end Digital Network Construction approach to enhance telecom operators' capabilities and accelerate the deployment of high-speed internet access in this era of unprecedented need. Also, I am motivated by the opportunity to make a positive difference in people's lives through the power of technology.
Looking towards 2025, where should the broadband sector embrace change and take more intelligent risks?
I would expect and encourage more members of the broadband ecosystem to leverage advances in big data, machine learning, and digital transformation technologies. These technologies will radically enhance marketing, network deployment, network management, and customer service capabilities.
Great to have you onboard, Frank!