During the past several years, particularly in the days before COVID-19 put a damper on just about everything, WISPAPALOOZA was experiencing meteoric growth. Between 2016 and 2019, for instance, the number of exhibitors on the show floor grew from 122 to more than 200. Attendance ballooned from about 1,650 in 2016 to 2,400 in 2019.
As WISPA’s flagship trade show returns to Las Vegas in 2021, after its cancellation in 2020, maintaining the growth rate WISPAPALOOZA experienced up through 2019 would be a lot to expect. Even so, WISPAPALOOZA returns with an incredibly strong showing and a familiar optimism, hosting more than 140 exhibitors, more than 165 speakers and more than 1,700 attendees (including even a WISP from Rhode Island).
WISPAPALOOZA By the Numbers
“This WISPAPALOOZA is a celebration on a number of levels,” said Claude Aiken, president and CEO of WISPA. “Our community hasn’t gotten together at this scale for two years, and we’re just excited as heck to get back and see old friends.”
What’s more, attendees of WISPAPALOOZA 2021 have witnessed first-hand how the WISP community is adapting and evolving in terms of both technology and business models. Indeed, since WISPAPALOOZA last convened in 2019, many WISPs now have licensed spectrum, via, among other manners, the CBRS auction completed last year. And while fixed wireless access has been the industry’s predominate delivery technology, today the majority of WISPs now employ other transmission modes, such as fiber to the home and business. Finally, more and more WISPs are competing for and using public funding to grow their networks.
“Our community-based providers use an all-the-above toolbox, so all Americans get competitive, innovative and affordable internet access in their communities,” stated Aiken. “Look at the WISPAPALOOZA exhibition floor and education panels and you’ll see the amazing diversity, resilience and continued evolution of an industry that’s future-proofing solutions for their customers and marketplace.”
Perhaps even more exciting, WISPAPALOOZA 2021 was a chance for the WISP community to pat itself on the back for the heroic efforts made to keep workers, students, first responders, schools, homes and healthcare facilities connected and communicating during a period when connectivity was never more crucial or more difficult to provide.
“I’m tremendously proud of the community for its steadfast service during the hardest times of our lives,” said Aiken. “They kept people connected, safe and working. And they did it because it was the right thing to do.”
Things are looking bright for WISPAPALOOZA 2022.