Developers of the future Digital Crossroads of America Data Center in Hammond are taking an inventory of the Region’s public wireless and optical communications systems to find the gaps in coverage, which could lead to laying the groundwork for a strategy to improve service.
“Every community’s economic future requires reliable and uniform mobile and broadband data coverage,” representatives for Digital Crossroads said. “When we started an inventory about five years ago, the state of Indiana’s systems were being developed and the larger carriers viewed their networks as proprietary; it was very difficult to get people to share information. The whole world has changed so much and Digital Crossroads has the contacts and the resources to create a meaningful inventory of available assets.”
The company said each city and town has its own cell and radio towers, fiber optic cables, and small cell coverage or cellular systems, which cover a smaller radius. The state has a different system and there also are private systems owned by large companies as well as several abandoned systems.
Most of these systems are currently not aligned with one another, Digital Crossroads said. Some areas have no coverage, other areas have one type of coverage, and other areas may have as many as 11 different types of digital services.
“This inefficiency happens in most areas of the country,” said Peter Feldman, CEO of Digital Crossroads. “Tom Dakich and I are committed to creating the inventory of coverages and assets as a first step to making a comprehensive plan for NWI fiber and tower management as a serious part of the creation of jobs and opportunities in NWI.”
Digital Crossroads said autonomous vehicles require seamless GPS and data connectivity. Cities and towns that can prove to GPS-based technology companies that it has small cell, fiber, and tower assets in place will have an advantage when trying to bring business here.
Digital Crossroads has hired Germany-based Seim and Partner, an engineering company which specializes in network deployment and planning for companies and municipalities globally.
Tom Dakich, managing member of Digital Crossroads said Semi and Partner already have started their initial analysis.
“More companies would consider locating here if we could show them a demonstrable plan for expanding our broadband and cellular data systems,” Dakich said. “The first step in this process would be to inventory where we’re currently at and then review what our region needs.”
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