By Jeffrey Yorke
The way Oliver Valente tells it, ExteNet Systems is the go anywhere, do anything company. Sort of a modern day “have network, will travel and build-to-suit” operator that wants to be everything to everyone all at the same time.
“Our goal is to never build a network for just one carrier,” said Valente, the EVP/COO for Chicago-based builder and designer of high-bandwidth, fiber-based networks. Valente explained that ExteNet is “100% focused on indoor and outdoor networks” that can go up quickly and economically. “Ninety percent of our business has been organic,” he said. “We build most of our business from scratch. That’s 90% so far.”
Valente stressed ExteNet, which describes itself as a neutral host, offers a better solution to carriers than having a carrier shelling out the enormous costs of creating a network unique only to its own needs, then later attempting to accommodate another carrier. “The idea of a carrier building a network and then their competitor coming on that network is a little bit of an unnatural act,” Valente advised.
ExteNet, which got a significant financial boost in July when it was acquired by Digital Bridge Holdings with a plan to fuel its long term growth, has built a wireless network for New York City’s Empire State building. Valente says there are two carriers already on board and the company is, “talking to the other two.”
Then there is the pact with Chicago to design and install a wireless network throughout the Chicago Transit Authority’s tunnel system. ExteNet is also rushing to wrap up a new network in San Francisco by February 7, 2016, when the 50th NFL Super Bowl kicks off at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara.
That, acknowledged moderator Berge Ayvazian, is a near impossible task because of the topography but Valente assured the Thursday Tower Summit audience that it’s been made easier because of the full cooperation of the City of San Francisco and its desire to be a wireless showcase on game day.