Mitch Shapiro, the founder of Rural Fiber Works, has been tracking and analyzing the broadband industry since the mid-1980s, when he conducted pioneering studies on the impacts of the AT&T divestiture and the dynamics of television narrowcasting.
Since those early days of deregulation and channel expansion, Mitch has continued to work at the leading edge of broadband developments, as an independent consultant and author, and as a senior analyst with firms such as Paul Kagan Associates, Probe Research, Pangrac & Associates, and Pike & Fischer.
Mitch's work has included analysis of technologies, business models, financials and competitive dynamics of both incumbent service providers and new and emerging competitors. It has also encompassed broadband policy issues and the economic and social benefits of broadband, particularly fiber optic networks.
During his career, Mitch has authored numerous research reports and published articles. Recent examples of his work include:* Extending Fiber Closer to the Home: An Analysis of Telco Fiber Deployment Strategies
* Verizon FiOS: Economics, Prospects and Impacts
* Verizon's FiOS vs. AT&T's U-verse (see pgs. 2-15)
* Investing in Broadband: An Analysis of Capital Spending & Cash Flows Among the Top Providers
* Bundled-Services Strategies: Competitive Analysis
* High-Speed Broadband Pricing & Packaging Strategies, Annual Reports, 2005-2008
* Quarterly Financial Analysis of RBOCs, Cable MSOs and DBS Providers
* VoIP Deployment, Pricing & Packaging Quarterly Updates
* Television 2.0: A Comprehensive Analysis of Emerging IP-Based Video Services (co-author)
* Municipal Broadband: The Economics, Politics and Implications
* Municipal & Utility Guidebook to Bringing Broadband Fiber Optics to Your Community (co-author)
* Pulse Broadband: Making Rural Fiber Work
* Publicly Funded "Open FTTH" (see pgs. 30-38)
* Wi-Fi & WISPs in Transition: New Deployments & New Business Models
* Broadband Business Analysis: Clearwire
* Broadband Business Analysis: The AWS Spectrum Auction Winners
* Spectrum Policy 2.0: White Space, the Internet and the Public Interest
* The White Space Opportunity: Spectrum as a Public Asset and the Impact on Incumbents
* Broadband Over Power Lines: Is it Ready to Charge Up?
Recognizing the powerful synergies between Pulse's advanced fiber architecture and management services, and SNG's research and planning services, Mitch launched Rural Fiber Works in 2009. It's purpose is to help rural electric cooperatives and municipal utilities employ Pulse and SNG services in a coordinated strategy that maximizes the transformative benefits of fiber networks in their communities.
Mitch has known Dave Pangrac, co-inventor of Pulse's patented fiber-to-the-premise (FTTP) architecture and its Chief Strategic Officer, for about 20 years. When they met, Dave headed up the engineering team of Time Warner's cable unit, and Mitch was an analyst with Paul Kagan Associates, a leading industry research firm.
Mitch was tasked with identifying emerging trends in cable TV technology, and recognized Dave as a practical visionary who can not only think outside the box, but can build a better box.
To push the limits of networks at that time, most cable engineers worked on small changes. But Dave and his team invented a whole new network architecture, now known as hybrid fiber-coax (HFC). That architecture transformed the cable business from one-way TV distribution to today's "triple-play" delivery of video, voice and high-speed Internet services.
For this early work, Dave received the Vanguard Award for Technology in 1989, and in 1994, Time Warner Cable was the recipient of the coveted "Emmy" award presented by the National Academy of Arts and Sciences for the development of AM Fiber Optic Technology. Dave and his team were given direct credit for this accomplishment.
Now Dave and his long-time collaborator Don Gall have done it again, inventing a new cost-effective, open-access fiber architecture that enables rural Americans to compete for leadership in the deployment of advanced broadband networks and realization of the benefits they enable.
Strategic Networks Group
In 2008, while working on the Municipal & Utility Guidebook to Bringing Broadband Fiber Optics to Your Community, Mitch read The Transformative Effects of FTTP by Michael Curri, president of Strategic Networks Group (SNG). This and other SNG work led him to recognize the company as a worldwide leader in understanding and facilitating the transformative benefits of advanced broadband networks. It also led to an expanding collaboration with SNG, including a benchmarking study of broadband supply, usage and development potential in Ohio for the Knight Center for Digital Excellence.
Their growing collaboration led Mitch and Michael to develop the concept of "Community ROI," which combines a broadband network's internal economics with its ability to drive economic growth and a range of other benefits, including improved quality and lower costs in healthcare, education, government services, energy use and overall quality of life.
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