For the past five years, FierceWireless has conducted its annual “innovation awards,” recognizing outstanding products and companies. This year was a bit different though: In addition to our paid categories, we offered two categories that were free for anyone to enter—service provider of the year and executive of the year. Judged by the Fierce Advisory Council, Fierce contributors and the Fierce editorial team, these two categories sought out the people and players that made a substantial impact on the industry in 2017.
We had a lot of great applications for service provider of the year and executive of the year for the 2017 Fierce Innovation Awards, and it was definitely a difficult decision. After much deliberation, I’m pleased to name Rise Broadband as service provider of the year, and Federated Wireless CEO Iyad Tarazi as executive of the year. The awards were delivered at yesterday’s Next Gen Wireless Networks Summit in Dallas.
With roughly 200,000 customers, Rise Broadband is the nation’s largest provider of fixed wireless services. As such, the company highlights two critical trends in the telecommunications industry: the growing momentum behind fixed wireless technology, and the role that technology can play in crossing the digital divide.
As it works to build out fixed wireless services in rural areas, Rise Broadband is on the front lines of proving out the fixed wireless business model, and is a great example of how wireless technology can help connect more Americans to the internet.
As for Tarazi, throughout 2017 he’s been on the front lines of the 3.5 GHz CBRS wave, which has generated significant interest throughout the wider telecommunications industry. Tarazi has been a fixture at industry events, acting as a proponent for the innovative spectrum-sharing scenario that—if successful—could have dramatic ramifications for the global wireless industry.