IMPACT Digital Strategy Study Underway

IMPACT Digital Strategy Study Underway

The developers of the future Digital Crossroads of America Data Center in Hammond have begun the first inventory of the Northwest Indiana region’s public wireless and optical communications systems in more than five years and have hired a Wiesbaden, Germany-based technology engineering service firm that specializes in 5G planning and other network planning strategies to start the process.

“Every community’s economic future requires reliable and uniform mobile and broadband data coverage,” said Karen Lauerman, president and CEO, Lake County IN Economic Alliance. “When we started an inventory about five years ago, the state of Indiana’s systems were just 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.”

Today, each individual city and town has its own cell and radio towers, fiber optic cables, and small cell coverage (which are cellular systems that cover a smaller radius). The state of Indiana has a different system. There are also private systems owned by large companies and several abandoned systems. Most of these systems are currently not aligned with one another.

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,” stated 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.”

“Continuing to identify these technological assets in the region is paramount to attracting investment for the jobs of the future,” stated Heather Ennis, President and CEO of the Northwest Indiana Forum. “The assets of one municipality benefit the neighboring municipalities and thus creates a more robust, united infrastructure.”

As an example, 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.

To accomplish this, Digital Crossroads has brought in seim & partner, an engineering company that specializes in network deployment and planning for companies and municipalities throughout the world.

“Kai Siem and his team have begun their initial analysis” said Tom Dakich, managing member of Digital Crossroads. “More companies would consider locating here if we could show them a demonstrable plan for expanding our broadband and cellular data systems. The first step in this process would be to inventory where we’re currently at and then review what our region needs.”

At present, the inventory is just beginning. Below are several PDF maps of NWI’s existing 1G, 3.5G, and antenna structures.



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