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Key Themes From INCOMPAS 2023

by Marc Dyman EVP, Kinetic Business & Wholesale

The 2023 INCOMPAS show was a great opportunity to meet with our customers, partners and friends. I appreciate the chance to re-connect with colleagues—and the insights these conversations bring. Every year, a few themes emerge for me, pointing to where our industry is headed. This time around was no different. Three recurring themes set the tone for me: a renewed focus on rural broadband expansion, the need for better interactions between buyers and sellers, and several practical AI applications.

Broadband Expansion

Now that BEAD (Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment) program funding has been allocated to the states, rural broadband is once again the talk of the town. I was struck by how quickly public funding and private investment have impacted customer expectations well beyond urban centers. And why not? Businesses and consumers everywhere are demanding the same broadband experience historically confined to Tier-1 markets.

The large investment aimed at broadband has also sparked technological innovation, making it easier to reach increasingly rural areas with fiber-based broadband. The greater reliability and higher bandwidth enabled by XGS-PON is currently delivering 8G speeds and beyond across much of our suburban and rural footprint. Many of our wholesale buyers are finding SLA-backed dedicated internet and broadband—as part of their managed SD-WAN solutions—is a convenient way to deliver on these heightened expectations.

Connecting Buyers and Sellers

There is still a need to improve interactions between buyers and sellers. The wholesale buy/sell exchange is not a new challenge. While all buy/sell challenges may not be solved, Kinetic’s Nexus portal, our big announcement at the show, goes a long way towards making it easier to do business with us. Unlike portals designed for business users, a wholesale portal must do four things exceptionally well:

  • Enable users to perform activities in bulk as well as one-by-one.
  • Remove the need to enter data more than once.
  • Provide an excellent wholesale broadband carrier experience from serviceability to procurement.
  • Perform predictably and flawlessly.

And while Nexus does all of this and much more, it will never replace the high-touch support my team is known for from our experienced, friendly professionals ready to help whenever necessary. This is still, after all, very much a people business.

AI is No Longer a Buzzword

AI has gone from buzzword to a pragmatic topic with many tangible applications this past year. The use cases range from IT coding to network planning and routing. We are also taking advantage of service acceleration and marketing optimization. Having gone from abstract jargon – often used to sound innovative and disruptive – to practical approaches where the applications feel immediate and tangible.

Case-in-point, Kinetic is leveraging AI/ML to increase our transport capacity and reliability by evolving from a switched to a routed transport network. This is a five-year initiative, but as we work towards wrapping up year two, I can tell you the early results are promising. With the upgrade, our network in Georgia will be capable of withstanding nine separate fiber cuts without service interruption (here’s hoping that never happens). Areas where our network is less dense will also benefit.

As we roll out the new routed transport technology to our entire footprint, it has already accelerated the speed at which we deliver new services to customers and, of course, improving survivability. I can’t wait to see what the team delivers next year.

Looking Ahead

2024 will be here before we know it, bringing new opportunities to deliver value. As we continue our investment in rural fiber, the Kinetic Wholesale team of industry veterans will be busy delivering on our commitment to making it easier for our wholesale partners to connect their customers across middle America. I’m looking forward to working on, as the INCOMPAS website puts it so well, “creating economic growth and improving the quality of life of all Americans through technological innovation, new services, and greater choice” for our customers.

Want to learn more about our services, network availability, or customer systems and tools? Connect with us at www.KineticWholesale.com

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