I spoke with Keith Pennachio, EVP of SQUAN, about the issues facing Smart City development and it was not surprising that many of the challenges are associated with magic thinking. Everyone wants their own gigabit connection, while not wanting the infrastructure in their own back yard. Fortunately, SQUAN has a portfolio of strategies that make them great partners for Smart City planners.
SQUAN combines its unique and in-depth knowledge of network engineering and fiber construction to solve complex and evolving telecommunications problems around macro networks, small cell, DAS, 5G, IoT, and smart cities for wireless, wireline, and enterprise customers. SQUAN is focused on the evolution of communications networks for wireless, wireline, and the components within. Services include backhaul, small cells, C-RAN, fiber, right of way, and the design, construction, and technical installation services that support them.
Their skill sets include the development of Real Estate Investment Trust [REIT], (which are typically how towers get funded), navigating right of way issues, contracting conduit and pole construction etc. SQUAN is a one-stop shop that provides services from design, sourcing and overall project management.
For many cities, the hype has got them talking a vision that is far from their reality.
Many cities see network infrastructure based on phone poles and PLATs (aka public land maps). The map shows connectivity but not capacity or demand.
We live in very confusing times where buzz words like 5G, IoT permeate the public awareness but does not answer the question.
What works for delivering the future to the citizens?
In many cases these days Cities are being awarded smart city grants based on a defined project. While it’s great to win, often the award is equipment specifically for the project. Rarely does this lay the groundwork for other opportunities.
At the heart of Smart City strategy their needs to be a Field of Dreams vision that lays the foundation. You have to build it for Smart City solutions to come.
For many cities, SQUAN can help determine the way to negotiate effectively with the existing service providers and if needed to source the requirements. This is beneficial since the SQUAN team has been deploying network technology including fiber, in a very confusing area of buzzwords and hype cycles.
Another valuable aspect of SQUAN’s 400 plus employees is their history of problem solving from retrofitting buildings with connectivity to supporting service provider deployments, their strength is experience and adaptability.
The reality for municipalities is that they are not working with a clean slate. They have connectivity in existence good or bad – it’s there. They have government buildings that were built before fiber and wireless were available.
Getting advice that supports the dream requires someone in the field with the combined level of expertise that SQUAN offers its customers.