Conference Program

As many network operators know, the process to replace non-compliant telecom equipment will be expensive and disruptive to network operations, both short- and long-term. Even more important is the need for carriers to future proof their networks and plan for smarter, more secure, network operations.

This executive conference is the first-time wireless industry executives will convene to share best practices to leverage next generation technology, including Open RAN, CBRS and more in an effort to introduce more competition from North American wireless equipment supply chain. The program (listed below) is subject to change.

8:55 am Welcome & Overview
Open and Welcome by Jana Wallace, President of Rural Wireless Association
9:00 am Network Operators: Policy Meets Reality: An Update on Frontline Activity in Network Replacement
Kicking off the conference is a panel representing various perspectives in the wireless industry as it manages the practical realities of compliance, security, network upgrades and more.
Carri Bennet, General Counsel, Rural Wireless Association
John Nettles, President, Pine Belt Telephone and Wireless
Chris Townson, CEO, DTC Communications
Mike Laskowsky, Network Operations Manager, United Telecom
9:30 am Summary and Review: Cost List and Replacement Catalog
The FCC contracted with Widelity, Inc. to produce a report detailing the anticipated steps in removing, replacing, and disposing of covered communications equipment or services, and an initial proposed version of the Catalog and Replacement List. Widelity conducted a series of confidential interviews with a broad range of communications industry stakeholders to understand the process and costs associated with removing, replacing, and disposing of covered communications equipment or services. A summary and update of Widelity’s findings are presented here.
Mike Lasky, Principal, Widelity
10:00 am

Mapping Real World Deployment Costs to the Cost Catalog
The Draft Cost Catalog is out, so now what?  Nokia can help you understand how best to use the draft catalog in support of your “Replace and Rip” application.  Nokia has been working closely with many operators and the FCC on how to simplify the application and migration process related to the Secure Networks Act.  In this session Nokia will walk you through the details of a real-world 50 site deployment that includes reimbursable products and services across all five FCC network layers.  We will discuss and map each of the following to the draft  cost catalog:

  • Baseline equipment costs for CPE, RAN, transport, Core, and IMS
  • ‘Ancillary’ costs for antennas, cabling, power solutions, cabinets, etc.
  • Site acquisition costs such as surveying, leasing, zoning, permitting, structural analysis, etc.
  • Solution design, integration, e2e testing, and training|
    Amit Patel, CTO – Major Accounts, Nokia
10:30 am Break
11:00 am Virtual Keynote: Mike Murphy, CTO, Nokia (via Zoom)
11:20 am Virtual Keynote: Kris Monteith, Chief of Wireline Competition Bureau, FCC (via Zoom)
11:45 am

Lessons Learned from the Broadcast Repack

The ongoing REPACK program is an FCC initiative in which broadcast stations are transitioning to newly-assigned frequencies. The structure of the FCC’s Supply Chain Reimbursement program mirrors the structure of REPACK. As the telecom industry moves toward the replacement of certain equipment, REPACK professionals offer valuable insight into how to navigate the complexities related to cash flow, reimbursement and vendor management. This session examines lessons learned from the broadcast REPACK and what wireless network operators can take away from a similar program.

Nick Solano, Vice President, QCommunications

12:30 pm Hosted Luncheon
1:30 pm Video Presentation:
Sen. Mark Warner (D), VA (Video Presentation)
1:45 pm

Understanding Deployment Scenarios for Open RAN Networks

Virtualization of the radio access network (RAN) — arguably the most complex and costly part of the infrastructure — is gradually becoming a given. This trend is sending a wake-up call to the entire supplier community to embrace open interfaces, architectures, software. Their motivation is clear: to bring more effective competition in the market and thus, hopefully, reduce costs. This session examines the deployment scenarios for integrating Open RAN into existing wireless networks.

  • Ryan Levine, Director, Business Development, SAC Wireless
  • G.S. Sickand, Vice President Technology and CTO North America, Mavenir
  • Dave Clough, Mobility Practice Director, WWT
  • Ronald Mao, Director of Carrier Solutions Baicells
2:15 pm Keynote Interview:
John Baker, SVP Business Development, Mavenir
Fireside Chat with Iain Gillott, President, IGR
2:45 pm

Virtual Keynote: Stephen Bye, Executive Vice President and COO, DISH

3:00 pm Security in an Open, Multi-Vendor RAN Environment
Security is also an issue in the multi-vendor model. Security in the network is a fundamental aspect of communications technology. The more interfaces that are utilized the more opportunity there will be for security vulnerabilities. A fundamental aspect of the system integrator must be to maintain a high level of security throughout the entire network. Open Standards and Virtualization of significant parts of the network form the basis of a new potential architecture. The role of the System Integrator will be crucial. They will need to provide simplicity, over-all design, security, equipment integration, testing, and network visibility and monitoring.
William Malik, Vice President, Infrastructure Strategies, Trend Micro
3:30 pm Break
3:45pm Remote and Rural Connectivity: Edge to Cloud Opportunities for Rural Network Operators
Robin Harwani, Head of Global Telecom Industry Solutions, Amazon Web Services
4:15pm Executive Q&A: Caroline Chan, VP and GM, 5G Infrastructure Division, Network Platform Group, Intel
Moderator: Iain Gillott, Founder and President, IGR
4:45pm Building a Unified 4G/5G Network to Meet the Needs of Today and Tomorrow
5G places unique requirements on the transport network, including Massive Capacity and Connectivity, Enhanced Timing and Synchronization, Network Slicing, Programmability, Low Latency, and Security. Meanwhile, This presentation focuses on what wireless operators need to do with their transport network to support 4G today and be ready for 5G tomorrow.
Jamie Gibson, VP Technology and Sales Engineering, Ribbon
Leigh Ann Self, Senior Director, Sales and Marketing, B+T Group
5:30pm - 6:30pm Hosted Reception -- Sponsored by RINA Wireless
Hyatt Regency: Reunion Foyer





9:00 am 

Welcome & Overview
Open and Welcome by Jana Wallace, President of Rural Wireless Association


9:10 am

Past, Current, and Likely Near-Term Federal Funding Opportunities
Deployment of 5G in Rural America is important and how do you make it economically viable is obviously a key consideration. Not just for “rip and replace” networks but across all of America’s heartland. Key to unlocking the technology wonders of Industrial 4.0 will be the ROI which will be at the core of these deployment decisions. Making 5G cash flow “rain” in rural America requires unconventional partnerships, new technologies and solutions. Likewise, it will require government assistance from a host of known and perhaps lesser-known state, federal and local programs. The cloud can bring $65 billion to the US ag sector and a great funding stream for rural carriers. This session discusses the latest government funding models and how to make the business case for 5G in rural America.
Chad Rupe, Rural America Strategies
Nancy Shemwell, Chief Operating Officer, Trilogy Networks


9:45 am

Rip and Replace with the Right Technology, People, and Processes
There is an unprecedented initiative facing the telecom industry. The future of our networks depend on the ripping and replacing of Huawei and ZTE equipment. This is a massive undertaking as our 4G and 5G mobile networks must be rebuilt and built more secure than ever before. The challenge is managing this influx of work. This panel is going to examine the most efficient path through the rip and replace. The right technology, process, and people is the only way to succeed under this mandate.

  • Dan Zygmunt, Vice President Telecommunications, Sitetracker
  • Amit Patel, CTO - Major Accounts, Nokia
  • Justin Mishler Director of Site Development and Construction Services, Geoverse
10:15 am

Rural Infrastructure Deployment - Get it Right the First Time
The Rural Wireless replacement program will be won or lost in the field where it’s critical that network builds are done correctly the first time.   This is especially important given the remote locations, new technologies and regulatory constraints that increase the already high risks of replacing network infrastructure.  Our panelists will discuss lessons-learned and best practices from previous Rural Wireless deployments, including planning, execution, material logistics and underlying project management technologies.

  • Rick Ploeckelmann, President, AscendTek
  • Matt Hush, General Manager, AscendTek
  • Rob Tymchyshyn, Co-Founder, Fieldclix
10:45 am

Understanding CBRS in Rural Deployments
This session features a deep dive into CBRS/OnGo technology, and the shared 3.5Ghz spectrum approach that CBRS enables. Network operators will learn the latest on deployments, Priority Access licenses, and the opportunities in fixed wireless access and enterprise mobility that CBRS enables.

  • Moderator: Tim Downs, Event Director
  • Alan Ewing, President, OnGo Alliance
  • Paul Challoner, VP Network Product Solutions, Ericsson
11:15 am

Wireless Workforce Considerations, Tower Crew Availability
The wireless industry in general is facing workforce challenges, and there is widespread concern that not enough of a trained work force is available to build out the number of new mobile and fixed wireless networks and migrate the customer base on the timelines anticipated by the Secure Networks Act absent extensions of time to do so. This session summarizes the workforce challenge and the options available to carriers and outside plant services suppliers to manage the work.

  • Kelley Dunne, CEO, AmeriCrew
  • Chris Crowe, CEO, t3 Broadband
  • Mark Posada, Texas A&M Engineering Extension Services
11:30am Conference Concludes