Erling Gudmundsson has a lot of things to smile about. First, there's fiber in almost every Icelandic home largely thanks to the efforts of Gagnaveita Reykjavikur (Reykjavik Fibre Network), where Erling is CEO. And for the second consecutive year, Erling has been nominated for the Broadband World Forum's annual People's Choice Award.
"It was strange, I did not expect it, so I need to find out who nominated me. The other nominees are big names, so it is an honor to be among them," he told Broadband World News in the weeks before the event is held in Berlin.
Behind every great leader is a great team, a philosophy Erling believes. Speaking about the past 12 months, he gives credit to everyone at Gagnaveita Reykjavikur.
Iceland's People Pleaser
As CEO of Gagnaveita Reykjavikur (Reykjavik Fibre Network), Erling Gudmundsson plays a key role in making Iceland one of the most fiber-rich countries in the world -- perhaps one reason he's been nominated again for this year's Broadband World Forum's People's Choice Award, an honor he took home in 2017.
"Number one in everything is the team around you," he explained. "We believe we are changing a country. I can feel the energy every morning when I go to work. Everybody is constantly ready to do battle for that vision. Having the right team and the right motivation is everything."
That big vision is reflected across Iceland's network infrastructure. Between Gagnaveita Reykjavikur and the other fiber networks in Iceland, operators have deployed fiber across 80% of the country.
"I believe that by 2025 Iceland will be 100% connected by fiber," Erling said.
Speed at the lowest possible price is one secret to provider success, according to Erling. "Secondly is how you connect the customer," he said. "The installation in the home is what we call a single set up."
This single set up involves one visit where an installer deploys fiber, IPTV set-top box, voice POTS connection, WiFi router and everything else, including a speed test.
By making the home better when leaving than it was when you arrived, Erling said: "You turn every customer into a salesperson."
So with a full fiber nation just around the corner, where next?
"People say we have built too much fiber, point to point into every home, why did you do that? And I'm amazed that I am thinking now, should we put in more?" said Erling. "I can see in the future how point-to-point fiber might be used, so we are preparing for that."
For Erling, this future is about 5G, Internet of Things and smart cars. For that, he is keen to both share his knowledge and learn from elsewhere.
"We are always looking for more partnerships in Iceland, we are always looking for more knowledge in Iceland. It's a nice test market and a lot of countries can learn from what happened in Iceland. I am constantly sharing and of course it works both ways, I am also getting a lot of ideas from other countries. It's a good blueprint," he said.
Broadband World Forum offers a great place to gain this knowledge, he says. He is keen to network at the show with both other People's Choice nominees, as well as "anyone playing in the wholesale space." "My interest now is how we can use the wholesale network to support 5G and IoT as well as other future solutions. It was great in Berlin last year and I am looking forward to doing it again."
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In this insightful Light Reading radio show, Kurt Raaflaub, Head of Strategic Solutions Marketing, will outline the key service provider challenges, deployment considerations, next-gen Gigabit technologies, and service models to win market share in the rapidly growing MDU market.
The MDU market continues to face fierce competition among service providers due to tech-savvy residents (i.e., millennials), demand from building owners and management companies, plus the favorable economics of bulk contracts. However, no MDUs are the same, so service providers must use multiple technologies and inconsistent deployment models, increasing operational complexity and rollout costs.
The MDU market itself is evolving as residents adopt smart-home technologies, generating rising demand for smart apartments with built-in connected thermostats, keyless entryways and doors, and video doorbells. This evolution presents both new challenges and opportunities. In other words, service providers must consider innovative service-delivery strategies to compete and win.
In this Broadband World News and ADTRAN webinar, Kurt Raaflaub, Head of Strategic Solutions Marketing, will highlight emerging MDU broadband Internet trends and challenges. In addition, Kurt will outline the next-generation service creation and delivery platform, built on open standards, that allows service providers to connect millions of underserved MDUs, enables creation of user-driven services, and reduces operational complexity and costs.
Plus, special guest, Alice Lawson, Broadband and Cable Program Manager for the City of Seattle, will discuss Seattle’s B4B-Build For Broadband initiative that addresses best practices in planning for MDU telecommunication infrastructure.