I spent Wednesday and Thursday at the OSP (Outside Plant) Expo at the Minneapolis Convention Center. The OSP Expo is national trade show and this year was sponsored by Qwest. The buzz was very positive between vendors, construction contractors, engineering firms and service providers. While catching up with a lot of old friends and colleagues the question that was asked the most was “How likely do you think your stimulus project is to be funded?” The companies that were attending the show will be some of the biggest beneficiaries of the Stimulus dollars as they will be the ones who will be providing products, designing and constructing these networks.
Most people I spoke to also believed that the $28.8 billion that was submitted means that not only is there stimulus dollars to be spent but many of these projects could go forward if they are funded by other means. It was great to see people being positive about the industry and the future.
I did not see any real ground breaking new products or services but what was exciting is the continued development of products to support the fiber-to-the-home market making the turn-up and maintenance of these networks easier. I guess that means we have a real industry there. There was not only discussion about fiber-to-the-home but also fiber-to-the-cellsite. Much more concentration on fiber than copper this year, maybe we have finally hit the tipping point of companies trying to pump the most of their copper pairs but instead focusing on the future of fiber optics. It was also refreshing to hear persons speaking about the future requirements being 25-40 Mbps not 1.5 Mbps or 768 Kbps like regulatory bodies keep referencing.