A Cry For Rural WIFI — Post-COVID Challenges For Telecommunications

A need to stay ahead of the curve for Telecommunications and Utility Construction companies has increased as infrastructure investments are increasingly slow to materialize. The coronavirus funds from Congress is being used as a short-term response to COVID, but broadband expansion is a long-term goal.

The growing demand for improved broadband service can be felt throughout the country. Right now, with broadband, the goal is to expand services to people working remotely from home, students learning online, and people who need to use broadband for telehealth reasons. “No one has ever had to work this fast before,” said State Representative Tom Stevens, a Democrat who is the House Committee chairman that deals with housing issues.

Rising Demands For A Capable Workforce

States need to have their broadband projects up and running by Dec. 30 to comply with the current CARES Act end-of-the-year rules. And these restrictions don’t just apply to broadband. Housing and many other sectors that traditionally require long lead times must also be finished by the end of the year. Now, more than ever, there is a surge in demand for high-performing talent.

The $2.2 trillion CARES Act was to help states cope with the coronavirus pandemic quickly. Likewise, the U.S. Department of Agriculture provided nearly $750 million to improve broadband infrastructure in rural areas across the country. Applicants were evaluated mainly based on their area’s population density and the number of different facilities that would be provided service beyond residential homes.

Contractors that usually plan months to years in advance are having to rearrange schedules to do the work. In Vermont, the Legislature had to cut back from $100 million to less than $20 million. Despite the need, they didn’t believe they could have spent the larger amount in time. New Hampshire, Alabama, and Iowa are among other states dealing with the same issue.

On the flip side, more high-profile projects have not been slowed. Rumors of the U.S. incentivizing big chip-makers to expand within our nation have circulated for weeks, and now we know efforts weren’t wasted. The mobile industry’s default semiconductor manufacturer Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) is building its next facility in Arizona. The facility will fabricate semiconductor wafers, creating over 1,600 high-tech professional jobs directly, and thousands of indirect jobs in the semiconductor ecosystem. Construction is planned to start in 2021.

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The Newport Group is a leading executive recruiting firm with expertise in numerous industry verticals. We deploy proprietary data sets and meticulous processes to identify, recruit, place, and help retain blue-chip talent at leading companies nationwide. Turn the challenges ahead into competitive advantages alongside our help. Roles we’ve placed include Corporate Officers, Divisional Presidents/Vice Presidents, Operations, Sales, Finance, and Purchasing-Procurement, to name a few.

Our team of recruiters is active in all sectors of real estate development, including production homebuilding, multifamily, commercial, retail, land, and asset, and property management. Construction verticals include commercial, civil, telecom, gas, power, pipeline, infrastructure, as well as environmental consulting and remediation. Ever strategic in our approach—we present talent that aligns with our clients’ strategic objectives.