Verizon Communications has announced a fast-track acceleration of its to an expected 175 million people by year-end 2022.
At the company’s Investor Day 2022, Verizon outlined strategy, powered by its 5G network and the source for the company’s growth over the next several years. According to Verizon, its Network-as-a-Service strategy was built to drive the 5G economy through an ever-expanding volume of services and technologies that are enabled by 5G Ultra Wideband’s capacity to connect to a massive number of devices at high speed.
Verizon has outlined multiple paths to growth: 5G mobility, nationwide broadband, mobile edge compute and business solutions, the value market and network monetization, stating expectations that it will drive 4 percent service and other revenue growth for the company in 2024 and beyond.
“Through our deliberate strategy of investment and divestment we have already significantly increased the size of our addressable market which, over the next 5 years, should grow an additional $120 billion. We chose a strategy where we not only participate in a much larger market but also a market where we are in the leading position in our paths to growth,” said Hans Vestberg, Verizon chairman and CEO.
Vestberg continued, “Verizon’s networks power a future-proof strategy, built on strong trends in Mobility, Broadband and Cloud. We imagined a world of hyper-connectivity and massive capacity, knowing it would inspire innovation and new use cases. We see immense momentum today and what has us most excited is that we know that our network will support use cases that have not yet even been imagined.”
Meanwhile, Verizon has also unveiled a strategic partnership with Meta that aims to couple Verizon’s 5G Ultra Wideband network and edge compute capabilities with Meta’s technologies to understand the foundational requirements for metaverse applications. The collaboration is expected to explore how Verizon’s mobile edge compute infrastructure can deliver intensive XR cloud rendering and low latency streaming, which are core capabilities needed for metaverse applications. Verizon and Meta are also exploring a range of metaverse opportunities from the future of hybrid work/collaboration to metaverse-related consumer experiences.
Verizon Business also announced a new, cost competitive, turn-key private networking solution with Celona, expected to accelerate the use of private 5G to support a new generation of business initiatives. Together, Verizon and Celona will offer one solution with a common relationship, contract, support center and implementation team. The solution is designed to benefit small, mid-market and enterprise businesses that are looking to quickly deploy a private network that is built on cloud-first architecture, utilizing plug-and-play ingredients, self-organizing wireless and AI for app intelligence. Verizon’s On Site LTE and 5G solution provides customers a private and secure on-premises cellular wireless network on which to run critical business applications and operations. Verizon said its customers can now use a Celona LAN to deploy the private core on-premise, or on any private or public cloud.
Finally, Verizon says the the expansion of its C-band coverage provides additional growth opportunities in nationwide broadband with over 150,000 net additions expected for fixed wireless access alone in the first quarter of 2022. As the company continues to expand its 5G network over the next few years, it plans to:
Significantly expands its fixed wireless coverage of households and businesses, disrupting an existing market and capturing share; becoming its second largest contributor to revenue growth.
Cover 50 million households and 14 million businesses, and have 4 to 5 million total fixed wireless subscribers by year end 2025.
Accelerating Revenue and Cash Flow Growth.
Nokia and Kyndryl have formed a global network and edge computing alliance aimed at helping enterprise customers accelerate their digital transformations with industrial-grade reliable and secure LTE and 5G private wireless networking.
According to Nokia press release, the partnership builds on a successful private wireless connectivity project that yielded an innovative solution combining Nokia Digital Automation Cloud (DAC) application platform with Kyndryl’s consulting, design, implementation and managed services. The solution is designed to support the move to Industry 4.0, which is transforming how companies manufacture and distribute their products by interacting with IoT, cloud computing, artificial intelligence (AI) and other advances to their environments and operations.
Nokia says the collaboration has already resulted in private LTE and 5G real world deployments and several proof-of-concept (PoC) applications for Dow Inc. to support Industry 4.0-enabled worker safety and collaboration, asset tracking, and other capabilities using a blueprint that it plans to expand and deploy across its sites worldwide.
Kyndryl and Nokia share a vision that private wireless networking over both LTE and 5G will enable new levels of operational flexibility and adaptability across a wide range of asset-intensive industries, with manufacturing as a primary market segment, according to Nokia.
“As enterprises across every industry are seeking new ways to digitally transform their operations, 5G and edge computing are growing so they can harness the promise of these emerging technologies,” said Paul Savill, global practice leader of Network and Edge computing for Kyndryl. “By collaborating with Nokia, we’re taking another step forward in helping our customers unlock the power of LTE and 5G through a secure, private environment that helps them deliver tailored enterprise-grade edge solutions that drive new value for their bottom lines and next gen customer experiences.”
By collaborating to provide solutions over LTE and 5G standards, Kyndryl and Nokia are addressing the marketplace opportunities that already utilize the strong industrial ecosystem available now with LTE, while paving the way for significant 5G enhancements in future 3GPP releases, with existing Nokia DAC 5G stand-alone-ready private wireless solutions, according to Nokia.
Chris Johnson, head of the Global Enterprise Business at Nokia, said: “By combining Kyndryl’s world-class services expertise and global reach with Nokia’s mission-critical, industry-leading private wireless and industrial edge computing solutions, we will enable even more organizations to transform their operations, accelerate their digitalization journey and reap the benefits of Industry 4.0.”
The edge can mean different things to different people, according to Ben Green, vice president of sales for network, channel and enterprise at CoreSite. The simple explanation, he said, is that edge means allowing a user to have a local experience at the user’s location, wherever that location may be. The user’s request for service, whether it is an application, gaming or video, will be served from a local source, eliminating internet lag time, buffering or latency problems associated with network designs of the last few decades, he said.
The edge is about user experience and application performance, Green said. “Having a hub-and-spoke network design where users on the East Coast have to ping to a data center on the West Coast and then come back with a signal — that will cause problems for service providers and their users,” he said. “We believe that CoreSite is really well set up to deliver an edge user experience, given that our locations are spread across the country. By making use of CoreSite and deploying your infrastructure at our locations across the country, you could serve your users within a few milliseconds. They are all going to have the same local-feeling experience when you deploy at our sites in each of those markets.”
In Green’s view, 5G wireless communications represents a last-mile access methodology — and it probably isn’t even a mile. It is shorter than a mile, he said, given the distance limitations on 5G. Effectively, 5G will test your company’s edge plan. As Green explained it, a user on a phone may have a lightning-fast 5G connection to the nearest cell tower, but at that point, it jumps onto a fiber network and goes to the closest network interconnection point. Then, if the signal has to travel across the country from the East Coast to the West Coast, it has to ping the legacy on-prem data center and then return to the lightning-fast 5G connection. The whole promise of 5G is lost, at that point, Green said.
Delivering on the promise of 5G requires the use of a collocation provider positioned to deliver content and applications much closer to the user, optimizing the experience, Green said. Meanwhile, because not all data centers are created equal, Green said you should look for a data center with a rich network interconnection base. The more fiber carriers in the building, the better, he said, because it will improve the edge experience through network reach and deliver to as many users who may be on different networks in the area.
“Another key element to edge that we talk with clients about all the time is a hybrid cloud and a multicloud approach, really enabling enterprises with the ability to connect into the cloud of their choice to make use of different applications or solutions is critical to the success of the 5G edge,” Green said. “Even if someone says, ‘I’m going 100 percent cloud,’ they still need to be thinking about how they will effectively access their cloud provider but still integrate with all the networks that they need and all the business partners, all of their ancillary applications and other clouds. That’s what hybrid cloud is about. People should consider how they are going to effectively navigate among their cloud providers, their applications and their edge users. They should really do that making use of a multitenant data center, especially one that has cloud connectivity offerings.”
CoreSite, has an open cloud exchange, Green said, which provides real-time turn-up and turn-down connections to cloud service providers. Using the exchange, a service provider can take space within a CoreSite data center and directly connect to the cloud or multiple clouds of its choice. “This will be the quickest, most secure, most reliable, lowest latency way to connect to the cloud service providers that you need, while maintaining your ability to connect to everyone else that you need to interface with that make up your ecosystem to make that 5G edge solution run,” Green said.
Speaking of the future, Green said that 5G will provide a breakthrough moment for many content companies, gaming companies and for the smart city. He said that applications that are only three or four years away haven’t even been considered, today. The pace of change is so fast that there will be an amazing application that couldn’t have existed without 5G edge infrastructure in place, he said.
CoreSite, has network-to-network communication within its buildings, and Green said the company operates highly interconnected buildings in downtown metros across the United States. In some cases, the company has hundreds of fiber-optic providers interfacing with one another and exchanging traffic. Green said these network meet points are critical to a 5G application or to a smart city to provide access to all of the providers a service provider needs in one place, but also connecting to the preferred cloud service provider. Having AWS, Azure, Google and others on that to the building as well creates a future-proof situation, Green said.
“Here are the key things when you are thinking about choosing a collocation provider and trying to future-proof your choice,” Green said. “Number one, location. You have to minimize latency to your user. Number two, density of network interconnection. The more, the better. You are going to have a better performance to more users with more network options. And then finally, integration to clouds. You have to have a platform that allows you to interface rapidly at high throughput at lowest latency.”
Green said it just so happens those are the ingredients at CoreSite Data Center, “so we are in a good spot, looking to the future, whatever the future may bring.”
Don Bishop is executive editor and associate publisher of AGL Magazine. This article was derived from remarks Ben Green made in an interview with Sterling Perrin, principal analyst of optical and transport at Heavy Reading.
Whether for business, interpersonal communication, education, health care, precision agriculture or otherwise, technology and connectivity continue to define and redefine our world. Robust, reliable and efficient access to the internet — and to the content and resources to which it plays host — is key for maintaining a competitive edge and ensuring opportunities to thrive for local economic growth and overall quality of life. Today, however, notable inconsistencies in the distribution of digital capabilities affect businesses and individuals everywhere. As technology continues to evolve rapidly, the digital divide grows larger, wreaking havoc on industries and individuals’ ability to learn, grow and prosper across the United States.
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues its onslaught, shifting the way individuals and businesses interact and pushing the world toward a more digital reality, the need for more robust and reliable communications infrastructure has been heightened. The demands on networks have grown, and the requirements for distance learning, remote workforce enablement, telehealth and beyond have all grown exponentially — meaning that those without high-speed internet access are put at a severe disadvantage. As the gap in communications infrastructure broadens between metropolitan and rural or underserved markets, it is clear that the time to bridge this rift is now. The only question that remains is how to build a strategy that can overcome this challenge and keep these locations on track for stable, continued growth — in a way that makes sense for local business.
Understanding the Digital Divide
Since its debut, the internet has continued to evolve, becoming an increasingly central facet of life. The Statista Research Department’s 2020 IoT Connected Devices report forecasts that by 2030, the global number of connected devices will amount to 50 billion. Those devices will be used — and are being used today — to access online banking, distance learning and remote work, to host virtual appointments with doctors, to pay bills, contact emergency services, manage agricultural crops and more. It is difficult to ignore the fundamental importance of connectivity and the key role that access to digital capabilities plays in overall success. Continued digital transformation is accelerating this dependence on technology, making equal, efficient and robust access even more important.
The pandemic heightened the reliance on digital infrastructure because of the implementation of social distancing. This motivated educational institutions to implement remote learning solutions — some for the first time in their histories — while major corporations have extended work-from-home (WFH) policies into the year 2021. These online solutions require trust that individuals can obtain access to the files and perform work tasks over public and private connections. Meanwhile, health care workers, still faced with frontline pandemic responses, are adjusting their practices to support telehealth solutions, diagnosing and treating patients from virtually anywhere. Traditional businesses from restaurants to retail have all pivoted, driving more sales online with no-touch service capabilities, ensuring the safety and welfare of everyone as we keep our economy running.
Unfortunately, while demand for online capabilities has become universal, the natural spread of underlying technology and infrastructure that supports this access has grown more skewed toward central hubs. Although the infrastructural support for metropolitan areas has come naturally because of increasing demand by a more consolidated population, it comes at a cost. That cost is that rural, underserved and lower-income communities increasingly are left behind, despite the fact that their demand is just as important to their lives as it is for those in more central business destinations.
One indication of this systemic issue is that, as of early 2019, Pew Research Center reported that 26 percent of adults living in households earning less than $30,000 a year are “smartphone-dependent” internet users. This means that they own a smartphone but do not have broadband internet at home and, as a result, they employ their smartphone for traditional online tasks. In an era of social distancing and quarantine, when 53 percent of Americans are reporting internet use as essential, being unable to access these online tasks reliably or efficiently represents a critical issue.
With the need for ubiquitous digital infrastructure, the level of latency and performance that is now required by adjacent, rural and underserved markets for streaming, mobile demands and content consumption — a level that on par with major markets — is still going largely unconsidered. To address this disparity, many markets still have their local content and applications backhauled to major market hubs. This negatively affects performance, increases costs and drives end users’ frustrations higher.
Why is the Gap Growing?
The digital divide continues to grow because of a number of factors. To start, large cities and metropolitan areas have high population densities — they’re where the most customers are, where businesses reside and do much of their work and where most infrastructure providers assume the return on investment is the highest. This means that infrastructure providers often see diminished incentive for deploying in these areas and fear they won’t be able to justify the costs for building the necessary foundations. When the initial internet infrastructure was developed, it focused on these core regions to get the most people connected. With the U.S. population becoming increasingly dispersed, these major markets remain the most populated, but the adjacent and rural markets now have populations that rival those of the first internet-connected locations.
Nevertheless, challenges do not arise solely from factors external to the rural market; they also come from the markets themselves. In more remote and underserved areas, it is not uncommon for existing businesses to resist new market entrants. Innovation often looks like disruption, and disruption can cause fear that businesses in the area will not be able to pivot or will be outpaced by new developments. Although understanding the value of enhanced digital capability is not the issue, understanding how that innovation occurs and creating a method that works alongside existing market entities to ease any reservations is key.
In order to continue advancing the digital transformation, traditional transport solutions that rely on major markets must evolve to support a more robust and decentralized IT architecture, meeting the evolving content and application use of a highly distributed user base.
Creating a New Model
With today’s technology clearly requiring a more distributed model to the edge, attention on bridging the digital divide is growing. Solutions are being developed, but this challenge needs more work (and financial resources) to make up for lost time. Furthermore, the approach to addressing these needs in rural and underserved markets cannot be the same approach that has been taken in metropolitan locations — this is a different use case altogether that requires an individualized approach, building the right infrastructure with the right strategy to cultivate long-term growth and success.
To solve content and application latency, efficiency, cost, performance and access challenges, local content and applications need to be kept local. This means that a neutral approach to aggregating networks and driving interconnection at a single strategic location is needed. In metro-adjacent, rural or currently underserved locations especially, access to large data streams must be provisioned in a way that empowers markets through a more widespread distribution model designed to build trust while maintaining critical density for cost and performance efficiency. This model of interconnecting networks to enhance quality and performance is not new — it is just not yet happening at scale in a way that is made for the rural and remote areas where it is needed most.
These new market interconnection points require high levels of flexibility to overcome any deployment challenges — they must be able to be built in a host of different types of locations that suit what is available or what is needed in each market, remaining neutral in every way. They must be designed specifically for local compatibility, remaining free to make use of any real estate type or equipment while enabling any carrier, cloud or content provider to be empowered by reaching the most endpoints through a robust interconnection strategy. At the core of this model is cooperation. Cooperation with and between local entities when building out this infrastructure means the existing businesses and providers are supported, not disrupted, which is key for ensuring full adoption and enduring success in these areas.
Not only will these points keep content and application traffic local (and offer the associated speed, cost reliability and performance benefits), they will create a symbiotic ecosystem for local businesses that goes beyond aggregating existing providers to attract a growing amount of content and applications as the edge point progresses. If cultivated correctly, these interconnection points will only continue to attract more providers and create a host of benefits not only for themselves, but also for the wider digital ecosystem, creating self-sufficient, ongoing growth that will level the digital playing field while creating a more robust foundation for the needs of today and tomorrow.
Scott Willis is president and CEO of DartPoints. As a communications industry global technology leader, he has a record of accomplishment of building successful businesses for both large and small organizations to significant scale. He has extensive leadership experience transforming organizations, setting strategic direction, overseeing complex operations and confecting corporate alliances while delivering growth and profitability to the business.