Connect (X)

Tag Archives: WIA

Technical Resources Provider VCTI Joins Wireless Infrastructure Association

By Don Bishop

VCTI, a privately held company with headquarters in Somerset, New Jersey, and offices in India, has joined the Wireless Infrastructure Association, a membership organization that represents companies that make up the wireless telecommunications infrastructure industry.

Formerly known as Velankani Communications Technologies, VCTI has three lines of business, broadband expansion, digital transformation of network operations and secure delivery of cloud services, according to a statement from the company.

“Delivering universal access to high-performance broadband as quickly as possible is one of the critical strategic imperatives for the nation,” the statement reads. “The innovation in and flexibility of fixed wireless solutions have established that they rightly belong as a component of a broadband service provider’s build-out plan.”

Raj Singh, president and CEO of VCTI, said that what he called the company’s sophisticated rapid market and network-planning capabilities provide highly accurate, actionable insight on where fixed wireless is viable and at speeds possible. He said that these capabilities enable service providers and communities to plan broadband networks that optimize the available technologies, fiber and fixed wireless, giving them a blueprint to deliver the fastest speeds possible to the most people possible at the lowest cost possible, in the shortest amount of time.

In addition to providing technical resources to help technology companies develop complex networked and cloud products, according to the statement, VCTI also offers software solutions and services to enable broadband service providers to optimize investments for network evolution, simplify operations and strengthen their path to digital transformation.

“VCTI’s capabilities to identify markets where fixed wireless can deliver gig or 100+ Mbps demonstrates the wireless industry’s ability to quickly and cost effectively deliver the high-performance broadband that so many communities need as soon as possible,” said Jonathan Adelstein, WIA’s president and CEO.

VCTI was founded in 1996, and its parent company, Velankani Information Systems, was founded in 1985 as a consulting firm providing engineering and management services to telecom and data communications firms. According to the company, Velankani technology can be found in the infrastructure of more than 380 service providers, globally.

Representatives of VCTI will be attending the Connect X conference at the Hyatt Regency in Orlando, Florida, Oct. 4–7. To meet with a VCTI representative at the conference, send a message to [email protected].


Don Bishop is executive editor and associate publisher of AGL Magazine

Ohio, WIA Seek to Strengthen Broadband, 5G Workforce

By Mike Harrington

Source: Ohio’s Office of Workforce Transformation

Representatives of the Wireless Infrastructure Association (WIA) joined Ohio Lt. Gov. Jon Husted on Sept. 8 at the Tri-County Career Center in Nelsonville, Ohio, as he launched a new fiber-optic technician training program and inaugurated a broader effort to strengthen Ohio’s broadband and 5G wireless communications workforce.

A WIA executive made remarks in support of Lt. Gov. Husted and the Ohio Office of Workforce Transformation’s investment in broadband and workforce initiatives.

Tim House, executive vice president of WIA, speaks at the Tri-County Career Center.

“On behalf of the wireless industry, I congratulate Lt. Gov. Husted and his entire administration,” said WIA’s executive vice president, Tim House, during a speech at the Tri-County Career Center. “I commend your vision and these laudable goals. At its core, this investment signals a transformation. For 5G is not just the next generation of speed, it is a catalyst for change and economic development some have characterized as on par with electricity and the printing press.”

The state of Ohio provided $30,000 to purchase equipment and tools needed to launch a fiber-optic technician training program. As much as $10,000 of the $30,000 grant may be used for tuition assistance to reduce the cost for prospective students, the workforce transformation office disclosed.

5G deployment has the potential to contribute $1.7 trillion to the U.S. economy and create 4.6 million jobs over the next decade, according to WIA, which said that the current workforce needs to be trained and developed with the technical skills needed to deploy next generation broadband networks for the United States to win the global race to 5G.

Programs such as fiber-optic technician training are critical to closing this skills gap and ensuring that Ohioans benefit from the jobs and innovation that 5G deployment will create, WIA said.

Ohio Lt. Gov. Jon Husted speaks at the Tri-County Career Center.

“In Ohio and across the nation there is a sense of urgency to expand high-speed internet, but you can’t expand the  infrastructure without a workforce to build it,” said Husted who serves the director workforce transformation office. “One way we are building that workforce in Ohio is through the innovative fiber-optic technician program at Tri-County Career Center, where you can earn the skills and certificates in as little as six and a half weeks and start a new career that pays well and provides long-term stability.”

The Strengthening Ohio’s Broadband & 5G Workforce strategy underscores the public and private investments being made in broadband and 5G at the state and federal levels, which in turn are expected to create tens of thousands of jobs in Ohio over the next decade, according workforce transformation office. In an effort to ensure that Ohio has a skilled and prepared workforce to fill these kinds of jobs, the strategy outlines a plan for increasing broadband industry career awareness and creating more training and education programs in the state.

This strategy addresses three key issues, the first of which is to increase broadband industry career awareness by exposing middle school and high school students to the industry through curriculum and internships. The second is to develop and support more education and training programs to educate and train Ohioans. The third key issue is to capitalize on state and federal funding programs, such as TechCred and WIOA, to help finance the education and training that will bring to market the talent supply needed for the broadband and 5G industry in Ohio.

Rikin Thakker, chief technology officer of WIA

“The report published by the state suggests that the DeWine-Husted Administration proposed significant investments in broadband expansion — approximately $500 million between state and federal dollars, which will create 1,250 direct construction jobs that will need to be filled, compounding the current labor shortage,” said Dr. Rikin Thakker, WIA’s chief technology officer. “The deployment of 5G in Ohio is estimated to create 32,000 jobs solely in network infrastructure.”

Thakker told eDigest that WIA is working with many local and state leaders to bring increased connectivity and career opportunities to communities across the country.

“I can’t speak too specifically to those plans as they’re in various stages of development, but I can tell you that our industry has experienced a notable increase of interest from elected officials about how their state can directly forge pipelines between its education systems and workforce,” Thakker said. “The Ohio plan does just that. We hope that states will see this as a prime opportunity to join Ohio as a leader in not only building broadband infrastructure, but also funding workforce development programs to support it.”

Source: Ohio’s Office of Workforce Transformation

A national sponsor of the DOL-registered Telecommunications Industry Registered Apprenticeship Program (TIRAP), WIA said that is a leader in the development of telecommunications apprenticeships and workforce training crucial to the expansion deployment of 5G. Its Telecommunications Education Center (TEC) catalogs more than 30 courses developed by experts from industry and academia.

“We are closely monitoring the plans that are coming out from Ohio’s Office of Workforce Transformation and we stand ready with our TIRAP and TEC programs,” Thakker said. “WIA is looking into awarding that specific fiber-optic technician training program pre-apprenticeship status because it aligns with the TIRAP program. Our partnerships with local colleges and trade schools are growing, and we always keep an eye out for great opportunities to help deploy 5G in every community across the United States.”

According to a Strengthening Ohio’s Broadband & 5G Workforce strategic plan, published by the Ohio workforce transformation office, a recurring theme leading to the development of Ohio’s 5G workforce strategy is the is a lack of awareness of the viable career paths offered within the broadband industry.

The plan cites a national report from the Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee (BDAC), a committee formed by the FCC, which specifies that “without a clear identity of the broadband industry, the skills gap will likely only grow. Educational institutions lack awareness of employer needs, the general public is unaware of job opportunities in the broadband industry and workers within the industry often do not realize that there are opportunities for advancement.”

According to the strategic plan, “employers lose out from high turnover because employees tend to transition jobs for minimal compensation increases without realizing the possible career and salary advancement paths … and broadband infrastructure talent often move into power and electric utility subcontracting because those industries have a higher base rate of pay.”

Thakker said WIA was an active participant in Ohio’s broadband workforce analysis and continues to work with the state’s administration to explore a wide range of wireless infrastructure opportunities.

“Today, WIA’s 5G Readiness Program is a program that can be plugged in as a 10-weekend certificate program at a community college or four-year degree institution,” Thakker said. “Most of the content can be delivered online and students get to learn practical aspects of broadband and 5G through field trips to live-cell sites at the end of the program. Terra State Community College, also featured in the report, is one of the five colleges that has partnered with WIA on the Department of Labor’s Closing the Skills Gap grant. Suffice it to say, we are confident that Ohio is embracing an all-of-the-above strategy to train its future workforce.”

Thakker said that WIA fully supports increasing opportunities for 5G workforce training, but said he believes that installation is just one part of the much larger industry.

“It should go without saying that we should have more programs like this and encourage other states to follow Ohio’s lead in funding these pathways to prepare next generations for 21st century jobs,” he said.

Mike Harrington is a contributing editor.

Sasha Galbreath, Marshall Miller Join WIA as Public Affairs Managers

The Wireless Infrastructure Association (WIA) has hired Sasha Galbreath and Marshall Miller to join its public affairs team, according to a statement from the association. WIA said that Galbreath and Miller, who have the title of public affairs manager, would manage the association’s external communications and promote its workforce development programs.

Sasha Galbreath, WIA public affairs manager

“Prior to joining WIA, Galbreath worked for Clyde Group’s public affairs practice, where she focused on several strategic communications efforts in a variety of industries,” the statement reads. “Galbreath started her career working in the U.S. House of Representatives, later serving as deputy director of communications for a congressional campaign in Maryland, operating crisis management and media outreach. She graduated from the University of Maryland with a degree in government and politics and sustainability studies.”

Marshall Miller, WIA public affairs manager

WIA said that Miller previously worked for DDC Public Affairs, executing advocacy and issue campaigns for clients across multiple sectors, including technology. “Before DDC, he worked as a rapid response and research analyst for national campaigns and political parties,” the statement reads. “Miller graduated from Bridgewater College with a degree in political science and English.”

Matt Mandel, WIA’s vice president of government and public affairs, said that, working together, Galbreath and Miller would further cement WIA as a leader in wireless policy and workforce development.  “Sasha and Marshall’s extensive experience will carry the wireless infrastructure industry’s message to the media, Congress and stakeholders on behalf of WIA members,” he said.


Washington Should Not Cement Specific Technology in Law: Adelstein


Jonathan Adelstein, president and CEO of the Wireless Infrastructure Association.

Congress should provide technological flexibility in broadband infrastructure legislation, given the role wireless broadband connectivity should play in the infrastructure legislation the chamber has under consideration. That is what Jonathan Adelstein, president and CEO of the Wireless Infrastructure Association, told an audience as the featured speaker at the Media Institute’s Communications Forum luncheon today. A membership organization, WIA represents businesses that build, own and operate U.S. wireless infrastructure.

In expressing the need for flexibility, Adelstein said he drew upon his experience overseeing the Rural Utilities Service agency in the U.S. Department of Agriculture for the Obama-Biden administration and the lessons learned when distributing broadband funding during the Recovery Act.

“The bipartisan Senate group is charting a course that will get broadband deployed quicker and bring mobility along with high speeds to rural America, a course that will win the race to 5G,” Adelstein said. “A course that will create millions of jobs and over a trillion dollars in economic development. Congress and the administration are now positioned to enact a program that would achieve its goals more easily than if it depended on a single technology. By providing needed flexibility, the bipartisan agreement will be more likely to garner qualified applications for more unserved areas.”

The association executive said that as wireless connectivity is built to deliver service more quickly, it provides mobility, it serves public safety, it fights climate change and it is resilient when disaster strikes. Adelstein said that the bipartisan group wants to address these urgent needs by letting wireless compete for funding.

“The lesson of the Recovery Act is that Congress can’t assume funding with narrow strictures will achieve its vision,” Adelstein said. “I learned as an administrator that the agency doesn’t choose who applies. Agencies can only consider what comes through their door, and should only fund those operators that are not only willing, but able to demonstrate a plan that is both financially and technically feasible.”

Source: WIA

Wake Tech Helps Lead the Race to 5G

By Laurie Clowers, Wake Tech News

Wake Tech will rise to new heights this summer, becoming the first community college in North Carolina, and only the third in the United States, to offer a Telecommunications Tower Technician program. The four-week pre-apprenticeship program, which launches June 21, is part of WakeWorks Apprenticeship and includes classroom instruction and on-the-job training at Tower Engineering Professionals (TEP), a prominent Raleigh-based telecommunications engineering firm. It’s designed to prepare students for high demand careers developing our nation’s 5G infrastructure and moving wireless telecommunications technology forward.

“TEP is excited to partner with Wake Tech on this initiative,” said Andy Haldane, CEO of Tower Engineering Professionals. “This is a great opportunity for future technicians to gain a leg up on competition as they enter the workforce and for us as a company to attract and retain new talent.”

Tower Engineering Professionals estimates that the company will need at least 150 new tower technicians each year for the foreseeable future.

(Right) R. Scott Ralls, Ph.D., president of Wake Tech.

“We’re thrilled to partner with Tower Engineering Professionals on this much-needed Telecommunications Tower Technician program,” said Wake Tech President R. Scott Ralls, Ph.D., who participated in a practice climb on June 3. “This is exactly what WakeWorks was designed for – to bring new opportunities that lead to greater economic mobility for Wake County residents and a stronger workforce for our community.”

WakeWorks Apprenticeship, funded by Wake County, will pay for tuition and other related expenses for students in the program.

Training will cover safety, rigging, fall protection, principles of electricity, fiber optics and wireless technology cell components. When students complete the program, they’ll be interviewed for Registered Apprenticeship opportunities at TEP, where they will be paid while receiving additional training on the installation, maintenance and repair of cellular, broadcast, utility and public safety towers.

“The rapid evolution of wireless technology, propelled by the conversion from 4G to 5G, has led to a major shortage in skilled tower technicians across the country,” said Todd Schlekeway, president and CEO of NATE: The Communications Infrastructure Contractors Association. “I get calls from companies in search of qualified technicians on a weekly basis. NATE views community college programs like this one at Wake Tech as being vital to developing a future pipeline of skilled technicians that are necessary to accomplish North Carolina’s and the country’s ubiquitous connectivity goals.”

Participants atop the tower used for training at Wake Tech.

Tower technicians in North Carolina earn an average salary of $51,000 a year. Ideal candidates are those who love the outdoors, enjoy traveling and don’t have a fear of heights.

The deployment of 5G infrastructure is estimated to require $275 billion in investment, adding $500 billion in economic growth and creating 3 million new jobs across the United States. In addition to NATE, the new program is supported by the National Wireless Safety Alliance, the Wireless Infrastructure Association and the Telecommunications Industry Registered Apprentice Program. Colleges offering similar programs include Aiken Technical College in Aiken, South Carolina, and Southeast Tech in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

The Tower Technician program is among nine WakeWorks Apprenticeship opportunities at Wake Tech. Other programs include automotive systems, apartment maintenance and building & code inspector, EMT/paramedic, electrical, plumbing and HVAC. WakeWorks funds cover tuition and most other expenses for students accepted into apprenticeship or pre-apprenticeship programs. For more information visit wakeworks.waketech.edu.

Laurie Clowers is vice president of communications and marketing at Wake Technical Community College. Republished with permission from Wake Tech News.