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  • Guest: Gino Villarini

  • Company: Aeronet

  • On this edition of The Broadband Bunch, we visit with founder and CEO Gino Villarini as he recounts the many twists and turns along the way to building Puerto Rico’s leading high-speed internet service provider. We look at the spectrum bandwidth and interference challenges facing wireless networks as well as how his entrepreneurial journey began at age 16. Gino also shares a look back at the role AeroNet played in the long road to recovery after Puerto Rico was devastated in the fall of 2017, when category five Hurricane Maria wiped out virtually all communications on the island. Along Alongside Brad Hine, Product Director for Analytics Solutions at ETI, I’m Craig Corbin, we hope you enjoy our discussion.

    Our guest today began his journey into entrepreneurship as a teenager, and while in college established a number of telecom companies, including a dial-up ISP and a cellular service retail chain. In 2001, he started AeroNet, somewhat by accident, while seeking out ways to provide high speed internet service to his home.

    Craig Corbin:

    AeroNet has become the premier business fiber and microwave ISP serving Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and now, Miami. It is truly an honor to visit with one of the most dynamic communications entrepreneurs anywhere, the Founder, President, and CEO of AeroNet, Mr. Gino Villarini. Gino, welcome to The Broadband Bunch.

    Craig Corbin:

    I’ve looked forward to this visit after Brad and I had talked with you earlier about what’s going on at AeroNet.  I really like your LinkedIn profile where you define the title of CEO at AeroNet as Chief Everything Officer. Tell us about that.

    Gino Villarini:

    Basically, when you’ve founded your own business and you see it grow, you still kind of do everything within the business. I would like to say that I get myself involved in to a lot of daily stuff and obviously my role is as CEO, planning for the future and all that’s involved in being a CEO, but I also delve into the day-to-day operation of the company. And it’s part of being a CEO, you just have to watch everything.

    Brad Hine:

    Gino, I know that our listeners would love to hear about, currently, where your footprint is today, and a little bit about AeroNet just to get started, in your own words.

    From WISP Integrating Fiber Broadband to Converged or Hybrid ISP

    Gino Villarini:

    Sure, yeah. Basically, AeroNet is a what I call a hybrid ISP or a converged ISP. We started as a fixed wireless operator doing wireless services and, as it’s called in the industry, as a WISP, a wireless ISP service provider. But then later on we integrated fiber into our network, and we basically converted into a hybrid provider. We have a fiber footprint and a wireless footprint that is composed of microwaves and point-to-point and point-to-multipoint networks within our footprint. We currently serve Puerto Rico, the whole island, the USVI (US Virgin Islands), and we recently started to expand our network in to the South Florida area, specifically Miami.

    Brad Hine:

    About how many subscribers are you supporting today?

    Gino Villarini:

    Well, today, and let me clarify that we are mainly focused in the B2B market, so about 80% of our customers are in the B2B segment meaning small businesses, medium, or enterprise. We have over 10,000 customers right now.

    Brad Hine:

    When we talked before, I really enjoyed the story you shared about how you got your start in broadband, especially while you were in school as a teenager. Can you tell us a little bit about that?

    Growing Up in Telecommunications and Broadband

    Gino Villarini:

    I was raised, let’s say, in a telecom environment. My father used to own a two-way radio shop, so I kind of grew up just going there on afternoons and weekends and spending the summers there, and installing two-way radios on ambulances and police cars and everything like that. And that gave me kind a step up, a foot in into what was going on with wireless signals and radio frequency and all that. And my father taught me a lot.

    Gino Villarini:

    After that, he migrated into the paging business. We integrated a full-blown paging company, putting the wireless transmitter sites and the operator side too, because here in Puerto Rico, at least where we’re based, numeric paging didn’t catch on. It was mostly alphanumeric paging, so we had a call center taking the calls and relaying the messages to the customers.  So, I worked there for most of my high school years as a “whatever”. I was going to the tower sites to repair, or assist with repair. And I say I was not repairing, but I was assistant to repair meters, I was also a paging operator, I was also selling the pagers, selling pagers at school, everything that was around that [the business].

    Telecom Entrepreneur at an Early Age

    Gino Villarini.

    And kind of a footnote, when I was 16 I kind of also delved into the entrepreneurship side of the business because back then, here in the metro area of San Juan we were dealing with a lot of carjacking. And I built and sold a couple of units that basically it paired a pager with a relay system that would shut off cars remotely if your car was jacked. So that was kind of an interesting thing to do at 16.

    Gino Villarini:

    And I always feel like that, kind of like to make up stuff and try to bring ideas into any sort of production environment. So I kind of grew into that environment. Then I went to college. I started to study engineering. My plan was to be basically an engineer, and electronic engineer, but at the same time I was also working, and I started to delve a little bit into the ISP side of the industry in terms of how the internet worked, because I was basically amazed of this new technology, let’s say 1995 or something like that.

    Young Internet Service Provider Pioneer

    Gino Villarini:

    And I partnered with a friend I had, that also worked at my father’s business, and we decided to put a ISP. And this is, as I say, 1995. This is dial-up days. So we got together and started to put the basic ISP, from scratch. We had a server and we installed some dial-up cards in there and connected a couple of phone lines, and we were kind of running our own ISP. So that gave me a lot of insight on how the internet worked. IP protocol, TCP/IP, and everything what’s involved with that.

    Gino Villarini:

    Eventually, that partnership didn’t pan out. We kind of lasted eight to nine months as partners, and I decided to break up the partnership. He went off and continued with the project and was really successful in what’s a very big ISP in Puerto Rico. I kind of merged and moved away from that for a while. And I started to then get into the retail side of business.

    Learning the Importance of Customer Satisfaction in Providing Broadband Services

    Gino Villarini:

    I signed up as an agent for a couple of local cellular service providers, including CellularOne back in the day. This is being me and still in college and 20, 21 years old. I put up together a couple of cellular retail stores. So that kind of gave me a little bit of insight into retail. Pretty interesting. I always knew that I didn’t know what I was doing, but I kind of just wanted to see how that panned out.

    Gino Villarini:

    I worked there with that project two to three years. And it was pretty good, can’t complain. I learned the ropes about selling and retail and dealing with customers and the other side of a business, how you just manage to satisfy customers. It’s a completely different scenario between being in the back end as an engineer or making stuff, and just facing the customers and trying to fulfill their needs. So that was a pretty good school for me, too.

    Gino Villarini:

    And so all that gave me some, a little bit of RF knowledge, a little bit of retail, a little bit of product knowledge. It kind of just was a big soup going on in my head about all these ventures. And that kind of gave me into moving into the wireless ISP side.

    Brad Hine:

    It sounds like you’re a do-it-yourself telecommunications technology enthusiast here.

    A Do-It Yourself Telecommunications Technology Enthusiast

    Gino Villarini:

    Yes. I would say that because I haven’t studied anything of this at any university or program. Just, everything has been like that. You kind of hit the nail, there.

    Brad Hine:

    Where there’s a need you find a way to start experimenting and making things work.  What actually was your introduction into some of the WISP technology that you started to test, and maybe even use for yourself?

    Starting a WISP

    Gino Villarini:

    When I had my cellular retail store I kind of went out of… I was still in college, but back then I just was finishing college, and it started to change from engineering into business and marketing. So when I finished, my BA is a Business and Marketing degree, completely 180 degree difference. Because I figured by that time that I didn’t want to work for anybody, just want to be my own boss, so that’s the whole reason I changed my college degree.

    Gino Villarini:

    I was dealing with the cellular retail store. I freshly got married too, at that time, pretty young, and moved to a new place, out of my parents’ home and I got my own place. So, when I moved, dial-up was still a thing but starting to fade out, and new technologies were popping up. Back then it was kind of ISDN and a little bit of DSL, were pretty slow, like 256k and that kind of speed initially.

    Gino Villarini:

    And I wanted that at my new house but that didn’t pan out because my house was pretty far away from where the networks were being deployed. I started to think, “Hmm, what can I do to at least… Maybe I can sign up for this service at my business and then I can beam it to my home area?  How can I achieve that?” And I started to research on the internet what wireless technologies were available to transmit data at that time.

    Gino Villarini:

    Back then, this is 2000 or so, (1999/2000-time range), back then Wi-Fi was not yet a protocol. Every company had their own wireless protocol and most of them didn’t talk to each other. All these names that were around back then and these companies have different technologies. All of them mostly work on 2.4 gigahertz. Some were 900 megahertz. Five gig was not on the table yet.

    Establishing Broadband Access over Longer Distances

    Gino Villarini:

    And I started just to do some research to see what could be used for long range, because the big issue was that all these protocols were designed for indoor LAN environments, and the software didn’t handle long distances at all. So the program kind of quit if the unit, let’s say the customer, the client was too far from the access point.

    Gino Villarini:

    There were some, let’s say some software hacks that you could override that, so I kind of started to work and try, and started to buy equipment off of eBay and places like that.  Yeah, because I wanted to do it cheap. That’s the other thing I needed.  I cannot afford to buy $5,000 of equipment.

    Gino Villarini:

    I started to do some tests with the equipment I bought, on my business, like bench tests let’s say, and started to basically put together some sort of equipment to be able to achieve this. And it took me a couple of months, but I was able to do some bench tests and I was ready to just try it out, outdoors.

    I subscribed to a DSL line at my business, and the idea was to beam it to my house, so I kind of installed a tower at the roof of the business. It was a 50-footer or something like that. I can’t recall pretty well, but I installed the equipment on that rooftop. That rooftop didn’t have line-of-sight to my house, so I had to find a relay point between both, and I kind of drove around seeking places. There was a house on top of a little hill, and I just got in touch with the owner. I said to him that I was going to pay him $50 a month for having a repeater there.

    Gino Villarini:

    So, that’s the way it worked. I installed a router there, installed the equipment at my house, and I was able to connect my house to my office and have a little bit faster internet that I had at the moment. So that was kind of it. I was trying to solve my problem, which was slow internet at my house, to try to install that for myself. I wasn’t seeking a business out of this. I just wanted to solve my problem.

    Brad Hine:

    Just better connectivity.  So we can say that eBay was an early partner of you getting into business via online purchases!?

    Gino Villarini:

    Let me tell you, I still buy stuff from eBay.

    Providing the Community with Broadband Connectivity

    Craig Corbin:

    Unbelievable backstory!  Obviously, you are the MacGyver of Puerto Rico when it comes to communications. This is just so fascinating.  It’s interesting that, what you just described, providing extra bandwidth to your new wife at your home, wound up being pretty popular with some of your neighbors. Is that right?

    Gino Villarini:

    Exactly. As soon as I enabled the connectivity at my house, word got around and then my neighbors wanted to enjoy the same service. So I kind of, “Hmm, this could be maybe a source of revenue that I can pay off all my costs,” because I had some costs involved with my venture. So, “Okay, I will just spread out to a couple of neighbors, and maybe they will pay me $20, $30, and that will help me pay for my expenses with this venture.”

    Gino Villarini:

    So I started to offer them service too, and that quickly expanded into more people. Some of them had nearby businesses, so they wanted that service at their business. So I said to myself, “Hmm, this thing is looking pretty interesting. There’s a business to do here.” So I kind of, “Okay, let me see what I can get out of this, as a business.” And I kind of delved into part-time, let’s say. It was kind of a trial at first. “Let’s see if this is really a business idea or a business plan that could be developed into a true business.”

    Gino Villarini:

    It took me six to nine months to really see the huge opportunity that was available here in the market, to make a tough decision and sell my cellular retail stores and completely prioritize my time just for this business. So, yes, that kind of blew out of nowhere. I wasn’t expecting that kind of reaction to what I was doing. So, yeah. It was pretty interesting times and it quickly grew from there.

    Gino Villarini:

    I sold my old company and focused 100% on this. And for the first couple of years, I will tell you, it was hard because, even though it was getting a lot of traction and a lot of customers were pretty interested in this service, I was still doing everything myself. I sold my businesses. I couldn’t afford any employees at first, so I was kind of doing everything myself. The CEO kind of thing came out of that.

    Challenges of Providing Broadband Services

    Brad Hine:

    What may be some of the bigger challenges that you’ve had, obviously being a Caribbean-based company in Puerto Rico, and maybe with technology early on, once you started to transition into what we now know as AeroNet?

    Gino Villarini:

    Well, at first I would say the cost of internet service, connectivity to the internet, was the biggest hurdle because Puerto Rico, even though it’s part of the U.S. and everything FCC applies here, that gave us a good foothold and ground to work on, connectivity here has to go through submarine cables and that’s pretty expensive to deploy. So, whatever services you can get in the States, most of the time the cost is four times here.

    Gino Villarini:

    So at that time, when I decided to grow my business I was looking for quotations for a T1. Back in the day, a T1 was 1.5 megabits of bandwidth. That was screaming fast at that time. I requested a quote to the local companies that were having service here, like AT&T and Sprint, and they came in at about four to five times the cost of whatever the T1 was in the States. I remember, AT&T quoted me like $4,000, $4,000 or $5,000, and that was the cheapest one of all the quotes we got.

    Gino Villarini:

    I was about to sign the contract with them but I kind of, “Hmm, let me do this.” And this is, not a secret, but it was kind of a trick I did back in the day with this. I requested a quote for a T1 from Sprint, but I didn’t request that quote for the local sales team, I requested a quote for the States-based team. And they gave me a quote with State-based prices. As soon as I got that quote I just signed it and sent it over, back to them. And listen, via fax, it was using fax.

    Gino Villarini:

    So I was able to get a very special price, let’s say, or a great deal on my connectivity because of, let’s say a different sales team were managing the territory. And I don’t know, I don’t know if it was a mistake or, I don’t know, but I kind of grabbed into that and started my business with that special pricing. That kind of also helped me to start with a lower cost than others were paying for local connectivity.

    Craig Corbin:

    I’m curious, Gino, about the hybrid technology that you had with the combination of fiber, microwave, and wireless. Talk a little bit about the prospect that that was for you and how you approached the combination of technology.

    Deploying Fiber for Broadband Service then Complementing with Microwave and Wireless

    Gino Villarini:

    Yeah. Fiber, for us, was kind of a way to alleviate our backhaul issues. The company started to grow very quickly and we were used to seeing microwave backhaul. We started with unlicensed microwave backhauls with, let’s say a limited capacity. As soon as we hit that capacity we had to expand into licensed microwave backhauls, which has a bigger capacity but still, it’s limited. And then as soon as we hit that capacity we then had to look for other options.

    Gino Villarini:

    The options were either we contract this fiber service from a local fiber company or we just lay our own fiber. And we’re doing this for the long run so it was a easy decision for us, just to… We’d have to lay our own fiber because it’s going to last 20, 30 years in there. We just have to change the optics along the way as technology evolves, so we’re going to start with this fiber.

    Gino Villarini:

    And yeah, this was maybe 2010, something like that. So in 2010 is when we decided to start to deploy our own fiber here. And it’s mostly concentrated in the San Juan metro area, which is where we have the most sites or… And then at first we were just doing it for the backhaul. We were backhauling all the towers and the rooftop sites and microwave sites into the fiber and bringing it home at our main operation center, but then we started to connect customers to it, to the fiber or backbone, and that kind of grew. And now we base, I would say in maybe 25% to 30% of our customers are on the fiber network.

    Gino Villarini:

    So it’s been a great asset to have, and it complements the microwave pretty well, because there’s some areas that it’s too expensive to deploy fiber, because you have to do a lot of trenching. And the market is pretty aggressive here in terms of price, and so it doesn’t work. You can sign up a customer, maybe to a five-year contract, and even then the cost of deploying the fiber doesn’t work. So microwave kind of fills that gap, because nowadays you can have one gig, up to 10 gig, or even higher microwave links. So you can mix and match and complement its technology depending on the business case.

     

    Environmental Challenges to Providing Broadband Service

    Brad Hine:

    Your area of the world, and us living in mainland U.S. realize that from time-to-time you get some weather down there and you have some challenges.

    Gino Villarini:

    A lot of challenges.

    Brad Hine:

    How have you dealt with that in the most recent past, I mean specifically with the hurricanes that hit the area within the last couple years?

    Gino Villarini:

    Yes. Well, you plan to be prepared for a hurricane.  But you have to wait until you get hit by a hurricane just to make sure that everything you plan for will work or didn’t work. So Hurricane Maria struck Puerto Rico in September 2017. We were at 16 years of running AeroNet without any huge hurricane impact, so we were kind of new to this even though we’re 16 years in, into the business.

    Gino Villarini:

    And we have an emergency plan and procedures to deal with hurricanes, based on past storm experiences, but it’s not the same dealing with maybe a storm or a Cat 1 hurricane, than a Cat 5.  And then, let me tell you that we had to throw that plan into the trash and make a new one, because while we experienced a lot of things that we never thought we going to experience. But even though it was pretty hard, 95% of our network had to be rebuilt.

    Gino Villarini:

    And you know, everyone, everyone’s network was hit pretty bad in Puerto Rico. So it was not just ours, it was everyone. But two years after that, seeing the experience, I kind of see it as a learning experience because we learned a lot from that experience, that even though our network was hit, the company grew 20%, 22%, 23% two years after that experience. Because, imagine all the fiber was on the floor, and most of the fiber back then was aerial, so it took months to even years to have that fiber repaired.

    Gino Villarini:

    So our network, even though it was damaged pretty bad we were able to repair it in about three to four months, everything. So we were able to sign up new customers because most of the businesses saw that they had to have another technology for internet. They couldn’t rely on just fiber, because they saw what happened with the fiber.

    Complementary Broadband Technologies in the Network Save the Day

    Gino Villarini:

    Some companies thought they had redundancy because they had two fiber providers, but what they didn’t know was those two providers were using the same poles to get to their facilities. So they lost everything in terms of connectivity. And that’s when fixed wireless and microwave really shined, because we kind of saved the day for a lot of local businesses, government agencies, we even served most of the FEMA facilities that were put in place to deal with the hurricane. We served them with our technology because they weren’t able to get any connectivity from other providers.

    Brad Hine:

    So, an unfortunate incident and damage recovery process allowed you to deploy newer technologies and start anew. And it sounds like your growth, over 20%, I guess is testament to how well that worked and how quickly you could roll that out over to the islands.

    Gino Villarini:

    And let me tell you, it wasn’t easy because we had to do a lot of work. We had to hire subcontractors to help us out. So back then my company was about 55 to 60 employees. We kind of duplicated that. We were like 100, and so people dealing with the whole situation. And we were working seven days a week, from 6:00 AM until we were finishing. It was pretty hard, those first, let’s say, two to three months, but it was… Even though it was a bad experience, it was kind of a good experience because it helped us to grow more than we could ever maybe grow without that ever happen.

    Broadband Funding Options in Puerto Rico

    Brad Hine:

    And curiously, in a time like that, and we know the government then offers funding at a frequent pace, but what kind of funding is available to you, being that you’re a Puerto Rico based company today?

    Gino Villarini:

    Well, through that emergency, you ask?

    Brad Hine:

    Yeah, specifically, but in general also. I’m curious what kind of funding is available to you, moving forward in the future.

    Gino Villarini:

    Well, as of up to today our company has been self-funded. It’s grown organically over the years. We haven’t taken any, let’s say funding from other sources than our own. So we kind of self-funded for the last 19 years. Maybe in the future there’s a lot of opportunities that we could see and try to work with. Puerto Rico, being part of the U.S., there’s kind of similar opportunities, SBA funding and all the programs that are available.

    Gino Villarini:

    Now the FCC put together the “Uniendo a Puerto Rico Fund”, which means “Joining Puerto Rico Fund”, which, they’re trying to help the industry to, let’s say, not rebuild because most of the network has been rebuilt already, but to strengthen the current telecom infrastructure in Puerto Rico. So they have allocated about $500 million to make that work in the near future. The program is kind of similar to CAF, CAF II, and that is going on, it’s going to be allocated I think by Q3 of this year.

    Gino Villarini:

    The local providers will be participating, kind of an auction, reverse auction kind of thing. And it’s going to be by location, per area, so pretty similar to CAF I. So we’re looking forward to maybe participating in that. We’re kind of watching what’s going on. But a lot of interesting things going on locally.

    Gino Villarini:

    The market is pretty competitive. We are one of many wireless ISPs here in Puerto Rico. We got the local telephone company, the local cable company, a couple of CLECs, and last time I counted we had over maybe 50 ISPs, wireless ISPs.  Pretty tough market.

    Broadband Service Provider Collaboration with Facebook Connectivity

    Brad Hine:

    Recently I had read an article online that talked about a collaboration you have with Facebook and a wireless project that’s going on between the two of you.

    Gino Villarini:

    This is Facebook Connectivity, which is a division of Facebook. Facebook, we all know as the social media giant, as basically providing social media outlets to the world. But they have this division, it’s called Facebook Connectivity, and their mission is to expand the ways that people connect to their internet. So, more people connect to the internet, more people are use Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram.

    Gino Villarini:

    So they have identified a couple of, let’s say problems or hurdles that service providers have, and they have allocated engineers and resources to try to solve those problems. So you have problems in rural areas, where connectivity is poor or nonexistent, and they have a group working with that. And they have other groups working with problems that you might find in urban areas. And then you have a group that is basically working with other problems that you might have in pretty dense areas.

    Gino Villarini:

    That’s what Terragraph is all about. They have developed a wireless system that is able to provide gigabit speeds comparable to fiber in areas where fiber cannot be constructed because of cost issues or limitations on the infrastructure. So this system is based on 60 gigahertz frequency, which is unlicensed in the U.S. Basically, it creates a mesh with radios that you put every 200 or 300 meters away. And it creates a big mesh that’s able to transmit gigabit speeds through the mesh, and then you connect end-users to that mesh.

    Gino Villarini:

    So it’s pretty interesting technology, and they announced it back in 2016. They were starting to develop it, and we were kind of watching what was going on. We joined the Telecom Infrastructure Project, which is a venture of many telecom companies. The whole motive of that venture is to try to push open standards into the telecom industry. Terragraph is also part of the Telecom Infrastructure Project.

    Gino Villarini:

    As soon as last year, the technology was ready.  We saw it in demo at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona last year and I reached out to the Facebook team. And I wanted to say to them, “Hey, I got a perfect place to trial this, in the U.S. territory, which is Old San Juan.” Old San Juan is a historic city here in Puerto Rico that’s 400 years old, so you can imagine all the infrastructure is kind of protected. Some areas are even protected by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. So you cannot trench there, so it’s no fiber.

    Gino Villarini:

    And then the other technology that’s available, is just pretty old copper lines with DSL. So you can think of those people who are just getting five to 10 meg services. And they’re really very hurting for broadband. So I approached Facebook and told them, “Hey, I got a perfect place to test this. It’s a very historic, it’s a very concentrated, dense population. You can work this out.”

    Deploying Reliable High-Speed Broadband Services Quickly

    Gino Villarini:

    They agreed to the pilot project, so we started to work with them last May. We met with their team in Menlo Park [California]. They visited the island four to five times afterwards. And we started to deploy the network back in October, 2019. We deployed 50 nodes covering half of the city, which is about maybe two square miles. And we were able to deploy that in just two weeks, which was pretty fast. We were able to do this pretty fast.

    Gino Villarini:

    The Facebook team was very great to work with and our engineering team were pretty engaged with them. It was an amazing experience to work with Facebook on this. And we started to install trial customers just two weeks afterwards, the first week of November. So deployment-wise, it’s pretty easy to deploy pretty fast. Speed-wise, we are seeing speeds, average speeds is about 800 to 900 megs on the network, to the end users.

    Gino Villarini:

    We have seen, in test, over one gig, 1.5, 1.8 gigabits. That went bang with the test, so it’s pretty amazing. And it been pretty reliable, because with the mesh if one node goes out it will self-heal and will basically contour to traffic in a way that the end-users will not notice any outages. So we’re pretty happy with the technology. We’re pretty happy with the Facebook Connectivity team that really helped us with this trial. And we’re really looking forward to expand it.

    Gino Villarini:

    The only detail in this, Facebook is not looking into commercializing the product. They’re basically doing the research and development, and they’re passing this technology via licensing to OEM manufacturers that will then produce mass quantities of the equipment so service provider can acquire them and deploy them.  It’s been a wild ride, yeah.

    Advice for a Startup Broadband Service Provider

    Brad Hine:

    So even more and more options, with a company like Facebook. I’m curious, for a new startup, you said there’s a lot of competition where you are, as we know. What would be the one thing that you would advise somebody trying to get into this business as a startup today?

    Gino Villarini:

    Wow, great question. Let’s see. Well, it depends. I would say if an individual wants to get into the business, you’d have to really dig into what it takes to make it work, learning the technologies, learning the protocols, IP connectivity, how that works, RF, how RF works. You could be very good at RF, but if you don’t know the IP part of it, you need to know both. So if you want to go into a wireless ISP market you need to know about both technologies and how that works, being able to have a base to make things work.

    Gino Villarini:

    If you’re a group of individuals, a startup of a team of people, then I would say that the spectrum part of it is pretty important. Know where you can operate, what spectrum is available in your area, even though the default go-to spectrum is the unlicensed spectrum, but you might find that it’s congested. So you really need to look into what’s available in your area. And there’s some opportunities coming up with CBRS, which is the new band coming out this year. It’s already available in some areas. And some options are coming down the line too, but that’s pretty expensive to purchase spectrums.

    Gino Villarini:

    I would say, if you’re going to go into wireless, it’s just, the spectrum is the asset that is limited. This is not, it’s not available everywhere, so you need to make sure that that’s available, so you can operate and then start there.  Financing, finance is the other part that is pretty interesting, and important to make things work.

    Craig Corbin:

    Gino, this has been a phenomenal visit. And Brad, I think you would agree that we already need to begin looking at another follow up visit with you. Especially, I’m intrigued with the collaboration with Facebook and the Terragraph project. Interested to see how that develops in the near future. But so impressed with what you have accomplished already at AeroNet, in service to not only Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, U.S. Virgin Islands, and then parts of South Florida, so impressed. We thank you so much for visiting with us today.

    Gino Villarini:

    No, thank you guys. It’s been an awesome experience. And we can talk hours about it, so yeah, let’s mark our calendars for a second view of this.



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