Metro Connect 2024: Empowering Connectivity Through Open Access Networks

In February, ROCK Networks had the privilege of attending the Metro Connect 2024 conference, a gathering that offered plenty of networking opportunities and insightful learning experiences. Among the many engaging discussions and panels, one session stood out, focusing on how open access is revolutionizing connectivity across the United States. As part of this discussion, ROCK Networks’ Founder and President, Joe Hickey, took the stage to share insights and perspectives on the evolving landscape of open access networks.

This year’s Metro Connect conference marked a significant milestone for Joe, as it was his first time representing PomeGran, following ROCK Networks’ recent acquisition by the leading fibre-centric rural broadband provider. After the acquisition, Joe was appointed President of PomeGran.

About Metro Connect

Metro Connect is an annual conference that brings together industry leaders, policymakers, and innovators in the telecommunications sector. It serves as a platform for discussing the latest trends, challenges, and opportunities shaping the future of connectivity. With a focus on fostering collaboration and driving innovation, Metro Connect attracts professionals from across the globe to exchange ideas, forge partnerships, and explore emerging technologies.

Panel Discussion: How Open Access Is Revolutionising Connectivity

The panel, moderated by Keith Ponton, Telecoms & Media Cabinet Leader at Arcadis, featured industry leaders, including Kim McKinley, CMO of Utopia Fiber, Robert Thomson, Founder and CEO of Underline, Ben Bawtree-Jobson, CEO of SiFi Networks, and Jamie Earp, CEO of Ubiquity. Together, they delved into the evolution of open access networks, discussing their advantages for stakeholders and their role in supporting broader digitization efforts.

Joe’s introduction highlighted PomeGran’s commitment to bridging the digital divide, particularly in underserved areas of Canada. Through its subsidiary, ROCK Networks, PomeGran is spearheading open access network projects, leveraging government funding to bring quality connectivity to remote communities.

From an investor’s perspective, Joe emphasized the appeal of open access projects, citing factors such as faster construction, high take rates, and marketing advantages. These projects promise quicker returns on investment, driven by the presence of multiple ISPs and increased consumer choice.

In response to the panel’s concluding question about pitfalls and must-haves for successful open access projects, Joe underscored the importance of recognizing Indigenous rights and engaging in meaningful dialogue with Indigenous communities. He emphasized the integral role of First Nations communities in project planning and implementation, advocating for approaches rooted in cultural sensitivity and mutual respect.

Shaping the Future of Connectivity

Metro Connect 2024 provided a platform for meaningful dialogue and collaboration around the transformative potential of open access networks. As PomeGran continues to lead the charge in expanding connectivity and bridging the digital divide, events like these serve as catalysts for innovation and progress in the telecommunications industry.

Additionally, Joe’s expertise and insights are not limited to the conference stage. He frequently speaks at events and is available for conferences or media interviews to share his unique perspectives on telecommunications and open access networks. For inquiries, please contact us.

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