What's hot at SUPERCOMM this year? Well, the event organizers believe that with Obama administration set to award Broadband Stimulus grants in November, the talk of the town will be broadband. With that in mind, earlier this year show organizers decided to move the show to October. To get a feel for what we would see at this year's show, FierceTelecom recently caught up with Jan Maciejewski, managing director, EXPOCOMM Events, LLC.
FierceTelecom: SUPERCOMM is touting itself as the broadband show. Tell us about some of the highlights that we will see this week?
Maciejewski: Broadband is right at the middle of what we're trying to do. It was very important to get U.S. CTO Aneesh Chopra to tell us how the big bucks are going to be spent across the U.S. After a good deal of work, we pulled him in as a keynote along with, of course, the heads of large carriers. We extended that along to the rural carriers and we got a good line up of headliners for the three days and a blend of large carrier, the CTO and on Friday we have NBC.
What we tried to get was a blend of keynote speakers that would draw and have a big position and really lead the direction where broadband is going. As we were developing what the conference would look like, what the education would look like, the concept of broadband life came to life if you will. We started looking at: how does broadband transform people's lives and what benefits do we get from it in terms of health care, education, business, environmental and home entertainment because it's only because of broadband that some of these services are possible and ongoing today. From a theme point of view it was important to stitch it together in a way that made sense.
FierceTelecom: In addition to service providers going after broadband stimulus funding, there are a lot of anchor institutions and state/local government vying for a piece of broadband funding. Do you think we'll see a lot of discussion around that topic during the show?
Maciejewski: Yes, it's right at the heart of what we're doing. We want to make sure of that through our Stifel Nicholas leg of the conference and the FCC side of it so people know how they can go about applying for funding, what benefits they get and to understand how they will apply and use it. I think, who better to get that from than the Rural Utilities Service (RUS) and Aneesh telling what direction it's going to go in. We tried to tie it all together.
FierceTelecom: With broadband grants set to be awarded in November, I have to ask what's your take on the overall broadband stimulus program?
Maciejewski: I think taking a rural aspect of it and taking education and the benefits to health care and rural communities perhaps a few years ago SUPERCOMM did not address how that would be developed. We're most certainly including that in this year's event. The important thing to us is to make sure we make it clear where this money is going and how it's going to develop across the country.
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