We had a great time at FISPALive at the Westin DFW Airport July 24 – 27, 2016! If you have not attended FISPA before, you should consider adding these events to your schedule. FISPA’s website states that FISPA events are “created to provide a platform and structure for thought leadership and growth for the growing broadband and fiber marketplace, serving as the conduit connecting the interests of CLEC’s with the Suppliers, Networks, and Capital.” TMI President Sharon Thomas, along with the Director of Business Development Tom Forte, were in attendance and found that it was just as promised.
If you don’t already know FISPA (founded in 1996) you should find out more. This organization provides leadership in helping small and mid-sized CLECs & Service Providers compete against and work with incumbent carriers to ensure a better business model to increase members’ probability for success.
TMI‘s Sharon Thomas was invited to participate as a presenter and provided a session on: Rules of the Road- The “What” and “How” of Federal E-Rate Funding. She was impressed with how engaged session attendees were and that the level of interest and discussion continued long after the session concluded. Topics of discussion included the services now supported by E-Rate funding, the phase-down of support for voice services, how to navigate the funding process, which reimbursement method (BEAR or SPI) is preferable, the FCC's Lowest Comparable Price (LCP) requirement, document retention requirements and other practical issues confronting service providers who participate in the E-Rate program.
Sharon reported that she and Tom were able to attend educational workshops and informative sessions with formidable speakers and topics including:
- Leadership Workshop – Chris Reese, President, Cirrus Business Group
- M&A: Sellers' and Buyers' Panels-
- Seller Chris Lee, Managing Director Cloud Age Solutions; Erik Levitt, Partner and Chief Executive Officer Endstream Communications, LLC;
- Buyer Jason Hunt, Hunt Telecom Don Eben, Chief Executive Officer TWK
- M&A : Legal and Finance Panel
- Finance - Rich Lukaj Managing Member, Bankstreet
- Legal- Randy Lowe Founder, Overdam Consulting, LLC
LNPA Transition: What Is the Impact of the LNPA Transition?” Jim Falvey, Eckert Seamans Law Firm; Dave Malfara, ETC Group
Build Out Issues - Enoch Kever Law Firm: Andy Kever, Susan Gentz, Amy Saberian, Randall Covard, Michael A. Hill
“GPON & Next Generation Standards for ‘Gigabit and Beyond'” - Mark Odgen,Director of Service Provider Sales, ADTRAN
“How Fiber Adds Value to Your Business and Customers” - Rick Talbot Technical Sales Director, ZTE USASo many excellent sessions and speakers we can’t possibly list them all here.
Tom Forte, TMI’s representative for the FISPALive exhibits, found that the environment was conducive to quality conversations and he felt the attendees were anxious to explore solutions and opportunities to embrace new technologies, as well as provide innovations for the CLEC industry. The CAF II Funding Map and TMI Briefing service were a few of the key topics that he discussed with attendees.
Other exhibiting companies included 3-Gis, AT&T, Convergence, NetSapiens, Positron, Sandy Beaches Software, Taqua, XKL and COS Systems.
Both Sharon and Tom felt that the program was very well coordinated by FISPA Executive Director -Jim Hollis, JJA President -Jerry James, and Signet Interactive Chairman - Jeff James. They particularly enjoyed the personal attention that Jim and Jerry gave to all of the attendees. Jerry's " Fireside Chat" with Scott Widham, CEO of Alpheus was a great example of Jerry's Texas hospitality, and offered the audience great insights into the strategies of a successful leader.
Business wasn't the only thing on the agenda! Tom enjoyed the poker tournament (no real money involved!) on Sunday evening and on Tuesday evening Sharon and Tom shared some great Texas barbecue with clients Erik Levitt and Kristen Vasicek from Endstream/1st Point Communications.
We would like to give a special shout out to the Sponsors: Enoch Kever, Signet Interactive, ZTE, AT&T, 1st Point Communications, and ADTRAN.
Thanks for all who attended TMI's session and who stopped by to see us in the exhibit hall. We are looking forward to the next FISPALive!