The Verizon Strike Comes to an End!

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In today’s economy, in large industries and companies, whenever there is an unhappy group of workers, their tendency is to launch a strike in order to achieve what is wanted. Now, a strike may help the cause of the employees in question, but it can have debilitating effects not only on the image of a company, but also on the economy as a whole.

verizon strike endA prime example of such a strike was the one launched by the workers of Verizon that started 45 days ago. Their main objective was to approve and ratify new, four year contracts by both the Communications Workers of America (CWA) and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW). The new provisions and the tenets of the contracts were just recently approved.

However, getting the required number of votes was not an easy task and, in fact, it was a very difficult one. It took two weeks of mass meetings to get the full support needed for ratification. Here are a couple of highlights of the new contracts:

  • Verizon has agreed that no other jobs would be outsourced overseas (especially to China and India)
  • The number of support calls placed by customers of Verizon would be routed towards call centers based here in the United States

As a result, it is highly expected that 1,300 new domestic call center jobs will be created, with 850 of them being in the Mid-Atlantic region and 450 in the Northeast region. It was agreed, also, that there would be a 3% wage increase in the first year the new contracts take effect, followed by 2.5% increases every year, thereafter. Also, health benefits and pensions would be maintained.

According to Dennis Trainor, a vice president at CWA, “The ratification of these hard-won contracts cements an incredible victory for the nearly 40,000 courageous workers who put everything on the line to protect the good jobs for their families and for all American families . . . when working people come together as a union, we can make a difference in improving wages and providing stability for families.” (SOURCE: http://www.fiercetelecom.com/story/verizon-strike-officially-ends-wireline-contracts-approved-both-cwa-ibew-un/2016-06-17).

GeoTel Communications, LLC, is the leading provider of telecommunications infrastructure data in a geographic information system (GIS) and internet based spatial technologies for over 15 years. GeoTel takes telecom infrastructure data and makes it tangible. By layering this data in GIS software or by viewing it in one of our web based platforms, we make it possible to analyze detailed fiber optic maps and other telecom data sets throughout America. These integrated datasets are digitized onto the highest quality street data and aerial imagery available, providing companies and government entities with the leverage and insight necessary to make informed location based and fiscally sound decisions.

Announcing The Tracking of Arctic Wildlife in the Chukchi Sea

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In the world of GIS technology, there is a new trend coming starting. That is, the days of business entities offering services surrounding GIS, exclusively, are starting to wane. There is a growth of businesses and organizations that are starting to offer GIS products and services which are outside the realm of their traditional core competencies.

arcticOne example of this is a company known as Dewberry. Traditionally, they are a professional services firm, with a myriad of consulting based offerings. These include such items as telecommunications, transportation, and even security/risk management and vulnerability.

Just recently, Dewberry has begun to offer GIS related services, which include the following:

  • Climate change
  • Geospatial data analysis
  • Surveying
  • Land planning & development
  • Environmental services

Given this diversified portfolio, it was announced that Dewberry has just been awarded a GIS based contract to help conservation professionals react to the environmental impacts of both oil and gas activities and climate change. More specifically, the work under this contract will take place in North Slope, Alaska.

This newly awarded contract is actually a subset of another project called the Chukchi and East Siberian Surveys (ChESS) project. This is a huge effort to positively identity polar bears and other Artic based wildlife. The efforts here will be massive, as aircraft and satellites outfitted with high resolution cameras will be primarily utilized.

The information and data collected will help other conservation business entities to closely examine the environmental impacts of oil and gas activities and climate change. Also, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries’ Alaska Fisheries Science Center will be making use of these datasets, as well, in order to track the movements of the ringed and bearded seals in the Chukchi Sea.

This particular study will span a three-month time horizon. The information and data to be gathered will also be very useful in helping geologists to identify untapped oil and gas reserves.

GeoTel is a telecommunications research and GIS mapping firm that researches and provides telecom datasets for more than 6,000 cities in the United States and worldwide. GeoTel’s expertise includes specialists in economic geography, geospatial engineering, web GIS, and telecommunications GIS Data infrastructure.

AT&T Announcing Virtualization Moves to Bring Cheaper Prices to Customers

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No matter where you go today, you will, for the most part, encounter the term, “the Cloud.” Pretty much everything these days is in the Cloud. The Cloud is just another convenient way to store and download software applications, and best of all, provides for greater cost efficiency. Probably one of the best examples of this is the iCloud, from Apple.

ATT cloudThere are other examples related to this. They include Google, the Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, etc. But, there is also another term which is used synonymously with the Cloud—“Virtualization.”

However, in technical terms, the two are quite different. Virtualization simply refers to the act of taking something that is physical (such as a computer network, storage device, or even a computer itself) and literally making it virtual. In other words, it is the act of taking something physical and making it non- physical.

With this background in mind, AT&T recently announced that it is planning to virtualize a major part of its hardware infrastructure. In fact, this plan was already into motion late in 2015 and, at that time, five percent of its hardware infrastructure was virtualized. Now, the company has aggressive goals to make thirty percent of its hardware infrastructure completely virtualized.

The primary goal driving this move towards complete virtualization at AT&T is to not only have a better and cheaper cost structure for itself, but also to have the ability to pass this down to new and existing customers, as well. According to Scott Mair, a Senior Vice President at AT&T, “. . . the more we get on commodity hardware, the more the cost structure is better for us.” (SOURCE: http://www.fiercetelecom.com/story/att-track-virtualize-30-percent-its-network-functions-end-2016/2016-05-13).

Not only is a cheaper price a tangible benefit but, also, new services, such as the Network on Demand Ethernet and NetBond. For example, “With NetBond, a business can establish a secure connection right into the cloud all the way to the actual server . . . It gives them security and peace of mind that they can interact with their software without a problem.” (SOURCE: http://www.fiercetelecom.com/story/att-track-virtualize-30-percent-its-network-functions-end-2016/2016-05-13).

GeoTel Communications, LLC, is the leading provider of telecommunications infrastructure data in a geographic information system (GIS) and internet based spatial technologies for over 15 years. GeoTel takes telecom infrastructure data and makes it tangible. By layering this data in GIS software or by viewing it in one of our web based platforms, we make it possible to analyze detailed fiber optic maps and other telecom data sets throughout America. These integrated datasets are digitized onto the highest quality street data and aerial imagery available, providing companies and government entities with the leverage and insight necessary to make informed location based and fiscally sound decisions.

Watch Out Comcast! Here Comes Hawaiian Telecom!

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We’ve all heard of Comcast, Verizon, Windstream Communications, etc. But, there is another telecom/cable provider out there, that not a lot of people have heard of. This entity is known as Hawaiian Telecom.

hawaiian telecomObviously their primary market is located in the state of Hawaii; but last week they released some numbers that, if it were to offer its services on the United States mainland, would give some serious competition to the other telecom carriers. For example:

  • At the end of Q1 of 2016, it had 92,800 subscribers
  • Revenue was at $36.2 million
  • Consumer revenue rose to 47% from 43% in the previous year
  • In terms of video services, revenue grew by 25% (this represents an increase of $9.4 million)
  • There was an increase of 7,400 brand new IPTV subscribers, thus increasing the total base to 37,100 subscribers
  • During Q1, the number of household subscribers requesting fiber based services grew by 5,000, thus increasing the total base to 195,000 household subscribers
  • 61% of all Hawaiian Telecom customers now use FTTP based technology
  • During Q1, business revenue was $44.8 million; this represents a 4.4% growth rate from the previous year
  • The demand for business data lines increased by 20,000; this represents a 1.7% growth rate from the previous year
  • Data service center increased by almost 18%

Despite all this good news, there was one sour spot for Hawaiian Telecom: Its Wholesale Services division. Revenue in this category declined to $13.8 million, from the previous year. This was primarily attributed to customers switching over from the traditional copper based services to FTTP services.

This traditional segment is an important one, and Hawaiian Telecom has already started to implement plans as to how it will regain this crucial market share. According to CEO Scott Barber, “In the wholesale channel, our strategy is to leverage our fiber network to drive Ethernet growth in both wireline and wireless wholesale segments, be the provider of choice for the wireless carriers and expand services and solutions for the trans-Pacific market.” (SOURCE: http://www.fiercetelecom.com/story/hawaiian-telcom-sees-43-internet-customers-purchasing-21-mbps-1-gbps-speeds/2016-05-06).

GeoTel Communications, LLC, provides fiber route maps that help businesses visualize telecom data and locate fiber for predictive analytics and location based intelligence. If interested in obtaining these datasets, call 800-277-2172.

How GIS Can Be Used to Streamline the Sales Process

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There was a time when all a company had to was simply hire a sales team, cold call a bunch of prospects from the Yellow Pages, get the initial appointment set up as well as other meetings, and, finally, close the deal. My, how times have changed. First, the Yellow Pages are no longer relevant. With the advent of the Internet, any sales person can look up a contact in a matter of two seconds, and make that call.

sales processAlso gone are the days when a sales person would have to sit at their desk day after day to make their calls. Now, with the advent of the both wireless and Smartphone technology, an account executive can be on the road, making those cold calls while he or she is meeting with actual prospects.

Gone, as well, are the days of using snail mail to launch a marketing campaign to potential prospects. E-mail blasts can be done in just a matter of a few clicks and in just a few seconds. With the advent of the various social media tools out there, such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, a sales person has even more reach in the virtual world.

Believe it or not, the principles and technologies of GIS are now being utilized by sales people to make their digital strategies for closing their deals much more effective. In fact, it was just announced that Chris Cappelli, Director of Global Sales at ESRI (a leading GIS vendor) will be making a presentation as to how their GIS platform can help a sales team further refine their strategies.

The topics in this presentation will include an overview of their powerful location-based platform that automates, integrates, and improves the digital sales process from the inside out. This is essentially a mapping technology that delivers an end-to-end digital solution, making any sales team fast, agile, connected, and responsive.

According to Cappelli, “To keep up with modern consumer expectations and the rapid pace of technological change, organizations need to move toward a holistic digital business model.” (SOURCE: http://www.directionsmag.com/pressreleases/2016-digital-enterprise-show-to-feature-keynote-on-advancing-digital-strate/468918).

GeoTel is a telecommunications location based intelligence research and GIS mapping firm that researches and provides telecom datasets for more than 7000 cities in the United States and worldwide. GeoTel’s expertise includes specialists in economic geography, geospatial engineering, web GIS, and telecommunications GIS Data infrastructure.

 

 

Amazon Web Services Now a Part of Telecom Offerings

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Probably in the past, you have heard the terms, “Virtualization” and the “Cloud.” You are probably wondering, what does all of this mean, and especially, what does it mean for me? Well, long story short, the Cloud is merely another way to can purchase a software package you need at a fraction of the cost in a retail store.

amazon webA perfect example of this is Microsoft Exchange. This software package is very popular with small to medium sized business owners. If one were to purchase this outright, through Microsoft, it would cost literally thousands of dollars. But since it is available via the Cloud through many Internet Service Providers (ISPs), a business owner can get it for just $15.00 per month.

It is important to keep in mind that with Cloud based offerings, all software packages are made available through an ISP. There are other advantages other than cost savings. These include:

  • No administrative headaches, the ISP takes care of all of the software licensing for you.
  • You don’t have to worry about any software upgrades (even security based ones) — once again, the ISP does all of this for you in your bundled plan.
  • You really don’t “own” the software package per se; but, rather, you rent it — the advantage of this is that the cost is spread out monthly, which is affordable and predictable

With this background in mind, it is also important to know that many telecom and cable carriers are now offering Cloud based services as a part of their offering to customers — primarily in backup and storage of information and data. Vendors such as Verizon, Comcast, Windstream Communications, etc., now offer Cloud products through third parties such as Microsoft, IBM, and Google.

However, there is now an 800-pound gorilla in the market place, known as Amazon Web Services. They currently command over 31% of the market share, and are fast becoming the partner of choice amongst the telecom vendors. Revenues from Cloud based services offered by telecom giants have surpassed the $7 billion mark, and are expected to grow even further.

GeoTel Communications, LLC is the leading provider of telecommunications infrastructure data in a geographic information system (GIS) and internet based spatial technologies for over 15 years. GeoTel takes telecom infrastructure data and makes it tangible. By layering this data in GIS software or by viewing it in one of our web based platforms, we make it possible to analyze detailed fiber optic maps and other telecom data sets throughout America. These integrated datasets are digitized onto the highest quality street data and aerial imagery available, providing companies and government entities with the leverage and insight necessary to make informed location based and fiscally sound decisions.

Verizon Strike Impact Millions of Customers

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In just about any industry or business, it is the employee who drives market growth and penetration in the end. The business owner may think they can do everything themselves, but in reality, a solid workforce is needed in order to realize any type of expansion.

verizon strikeThis is true even in the telecom industry. Given the sheer size of it, there is no doubt that even a strike or boycott by a few employees will be felt.

Such is the case with Verizon. It was announced late last week that a strike had begun. Even though it was just two days old, Verizon customers were already starting to feel its impact. Especially in the areas of its FiOS internet and television subscribers.

The strike originated because union workers and upper management at Verizon could not reach a consensus on issues which matter most to the employees. This includes items such as healthcare, pensions, and sick leave.

According to Tami Erwin, a group president at Verizon “We do have a bit of a delay . . . We’re working hard with customers to prioritize repair above activations and provisioning because we owe that to our existing customers.” (http://www.fiercetelecom.com/story/verizon-wireline-workforce-labor-strike-causing-installation-delays/2016-04-15).

On average, Verizon conducts about 30,000-35,000 installations in a week. However, because of the strike, this statistic has eroded by 30%. Although the strike affects all customers involved, the harshest of the effects of the boycott are being felt in the states of New York, Massachusetts, and Virginia.

Although Verizon claims it has plenty of back up personnel to counter the effects of the strike, other news reports have revealed that it had to deploy well over 20,000 non-union workers. The last major strike that Verizon faced was back in 2011, and resulted in a subscription backlog of over 100,000 based FiOS orders.

GeoTel Communications, LLC is the leading provider of telecommunications infrastructure data in a geographic information system (GIS) and internet based spatial technologies for over 15 years. GeoTel takes telecom infrastructure data and makes it tangible. By layering this data in GIS software or by viewing it in one of our web based platforms, we make it possible to analyze detailed fiber optic maps and other telecom data sets throughout America. These integrated datasets are digitized onto the highest quality street data and aerial imagery available, providing companies and government entities with the leverage and insight necessary to make informed location based and fiscally sound decisions.

 

Announcing a New Kind of GIS Analysis Tool

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In the world of GIS, there is one thing that’s certain: There is a ton of geospatial information and data being stored in databases and in the Cloud all over the world.

To the trained scientist, extracting and analyzing all of this is second nature. But, to the GIS professional, who is more a business person even an end user, it will take a lot more effort to understand and make use of all of these different datasets.

gis analyst toolFor example, datasets are very often not interlinked with one another, thus making analyses of them very difficult to the untrained eye.

In order to make this possible, a leading GIS firm known as Esri and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently announced that it has launched a new product line called the “Engagement Portfolio.”

This new product includes all sorts and types of global maps and mobile apps which gives everyone free and easy access to U.S. forestry based data. Free analysis tools are also provided. The key differentiating factor of this product from the many other GIS products is that all of the datasets are interactive with others.

So, for instance, if multiple datasets are being examined, many “what if” scenarios can be planned, with the effect being that the manipulation of one dataset immediately is transmitted to the other datasets. According to John Steffenson, Director of Global Business Development of Natural Resources at Esri, “Interactive access to data helps everyone make better decisions about our fragile ecosystem . . . the Forest Service’s new Engagement Portfolio transforms the agency’s wealth of data into information products that anyone can relate to and that powerfully convey the value of the nation’s forests.” (SOURCE: http://www.directionsmag.com/pressreleases/esri-and-usda-forest-service-introduce-interactive-trove-of-maps/465693).

With this new product comes a new database as well, which is known as the “Forestry Inventory and Analysis.”

GeoTel is a telecommunications research and GIS mapping firm that researches and provides telecom datasets for more than 5,500 cities in the United States and worldwide. GeoTel’s expertise includes specialists in economic geography, geospatial engineering, web GIS, and telecommunications GIS Data infrastructure.

Your Right to Privacy is Being Violated!!!

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In both our daily and professional lives, the one thing we cherish is the right to privacy.  This particular freedom is guaranteed to us by the United States Constitution.  Given how everything is now mobile based, this particular freedom is becoming even more challenged, especially in the telecom industry.

privacyAs was discussed in a previous blog posting, the FCC, last year, released some new privacy rules/regulations that telecom vendors must now follow.  But, even this is coming under fire.  According to a press release last week, it was announced that the FCC has been unfairly targeting the larger telecom vendors with regards to privacy rights.

This legislation, from which these new rules/regulations stem, is known as the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM).  The basic premise is that consumers should be allowed to make “informed choices” by gaining access to how their personal information is being used when they sign up for various services.

However, even this is receiving harsh criticism from even some of the industry leaders.  For instance, according to Bob Quinn, a Senior Vice President at AT&T, “Asymmetric regulation, which favors some competitors and disfavors others, with no rational justification in law or policy distorts the marketplace and ultimately harms consumers.”  (SOURCE:  http://www.fiercetelecom.com/story/fcc-privacy-proposal-draws-fire-telcos-industry-groups/2016-03-11).

In order to help combat this criticism, the FCC has now proposed that the sharing of consumer information and data should be broken down into three distinct categories:

1)      Information collected from social media sites, such as Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn

2)      Information collected from “other services” provided by the telecom vendors

3)      Any covert government surveillance which has been imposed upon a telecom vendor (for instance, spying on a potential terror suspect).

Only time will tell how all of this will unfold. But, in the meantime, enjoy your fundamental right to privacy.

GeoTel Communications, LLC, provides fiber route maps that help businesses visualize telecom data and locate fiber for predictive analytics and location based intelligence. If interested in obtaining these datasets, call 800-277-2172 FREE.

 

VC Activity Is Alive and Kicking in GIS

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Despite market ups and downs that are transpiring in worldwide financial markets, investors seem to be hot on the trail of explosive growth in the GIS sector. The latest beneficiary is eeGeo, a 3D mapping and landmark visualization company, based out of the United Kingdom.

eegeoThis business entity just recently raised $5 million in funding from Netsol Technologies, an information technology based financing firm.

Part of this deal also includes access to Netsol’s highly coveted software engineering team. eeGeo already has millions of end users and subscribers, worldwide.

With eeGeo’s GIS technological expertise, any business can very easily visualize, manipulate, and comprehend complex data sets in a 3D mobile experience. Leading customers include both Cisco and DoCoMo.

This new funding will be used by eeGeo in a variety of different ways, including the following:

  • Developing its next-generation interior mapping capabilities.
  • Scaling up to meet increased customer demand to have the ability to create a 3D image representation of any space.
  • Creating and deploying end user implementations at a much quicker rate of delivery, thus greatly reducing the current lag experienced in the time to market ratio.
  • Giving the customer the ability to personalize the software services offered to fit their own specific requirements and needs.

According to Ian Hetherington, CEO and Founder of eeGeo, “Following the official company launch in 2015, we have seen an increase in customers and partners wanting to implement our mapping technology as part of their business offerings, in order to better engage with their end-users, maximize efficiency and create additional revenue streams . . . This strategic funding will put us in a position to serve a much larger market, whilst delivering new features and making our solution widely available.” (SOURCE: http://www.directionsmag.com/pressreleases/eegeo-announces-strategic-funding-to-fuel-global-growth/465209).

GeoTel is a telecommunications research and GIS mapping firm that researches and provides telecom datasets for more than 5,500 cities in the United States and worldwide. GeoTel’s expertise includes specialists in economic geography, geospatial engineering, web GIS, and telecommunications GIS Data infrastructure.

Broadband Services Coming to Low Income Families

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While there is no doubt the financial makes in the United States are gaining momentum, once again (as opposed to back in January, when the equity markets declined as much as nine percent), and the overall unemployment remains relatively low, the American middle class is still feeling the squeeze.

broadband cardsToday, the term “disposable income” is totally unheard of, and many families have had to cut out all extra expenses, which often includes their broadband and internet connectivity subscriptions.

In an effort to make these services available to all middle class families, AT&T recently announced a new program called “Access from AT&T” which provides ultra-low-cost subscription plans.

This program will be made available to people, who also participate in the U.S. Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), in a 21 state region. The pricing structure is as follows:

  • 10 Mbps for $10 per month
  • 5 Mbps for $10 per month
  • 3 Mbps for $5 per month

In addition to this, AT&T is also offering to its customers its Wi-Fi modem technology, and free Hot Spot services at cafes and restaurants all over.  According to Cheryl Choy, Vice President of Wired Voice and Broadband Products at AT&T, “We’re making it easier for more people to connect to friends, family, their communities, and the possibilities of the Internet . . . access from AT&T is an affordable Internet option available to millions of Americans with limited budgets.”  (SOURCE:  http://www.fiercetelecom.com/story/access-att-launches-low-income-americans-across-21-states-offers-3-mbps-5mo/2016-04-22).

However, despite the fact that this program is very appealing, it does have its “catches,” as well.  For example, there is a cap on the level of Internet usage, which ranges from 150Gb to 250Gb, and if this quota is exceeded, there will be an extra $10 charge for every 50Gb overage.

Other broadband carriers jumping onto this low cost bandwagon, including Comcast and Google Fiber.

GeoTel Communications, LLC is the leading provider of telecommunications infrastructure data in a geographic information system (GIS) and internet based spatial technologies for over 15 years. GeoTel takes telecom infrastructure data and makes it tangible. By layering this data in GIS software or by viewing it in one of our web based platforms, we make it possible to analyze detailed fiber optic maps and other telecom data sets throughout America. These integrated datasets are digitized onto the highest quality street data and aerial imagery available, providing companies and government entities with the leverage and insight necessary to make informed location based and fiscally sound decisions.

The Benefits of the Comcast/AWS Partnership

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While consumers across the United States have a choice of a broadband vendor, here in the Chicago marketplace, there is no choice. Comcast is the only broadband carrier available. There are, of course, those consumers who love them and others who just don’t like Comcast at all.

concast businessThe praise and criticism ranges all the way from superior services to poor customer service to unfair monopolistic practices.

Even so, no matter how the company is viewed, Comcast is always looking for the newest ways in which to expand its product and service offerings. Just recently, it was announced that they intend to form a loose partnership with the Amazon Web Services (also known as ‘AWS’). This partnership will give potential new customers network connectivity to over one million ethernet-enabled buildings.

The specific target market for this is the enterprise level business. Those entities that sign up for AWS services will also receive up to 10Gbps of dedicated Ethernet services. It is anticipated that large scale medical practices and financial institutions will primarily benefit from this partnership.

Customers will also gain access to other AWS based services, such as the Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2), Amazon Simple Storage Solution (Amazon S3), and Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (Amazon VPC). Through this partnership, Comcast is hoping to also expand its data center offerings as well as to large sized business.

This will give Comcast the ability to leverage itself against such competitors as AT&T, Level 3 Communications, and Zayo. The cloud is also becoming very important to broadband customers, especially the ability to “Configure Your Own Cloud.” This simply means that, after you sign up for services through the Comcast/AWS partnership, you can get cloud based features a la carte.

All of this is good news to the business division of Comcast, which has generated over $1.3 billion in revenue in the fourth quarter of 2015.

GeoTel Communications, LLC, provides fiber route maps that help businesses visualize telecom data and locate fiber for predictive analytics and location based intelligence. If interested in obtaining these datasets, call 800-277-2172 FREE.

 

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