IQ Fiber’s new CTO is armed with experience from Hargray, Ericsson

Florida-based broadband startup IQ Fiber strengthened its leadership team, adding telecom veteran and former Hargray Communications executive Aamer Abbasi as its CTO. While other fiber players are racing along with deployments, Abbasi told Fierce he’s challenging his technology team not to let customers get lost in the scramble.

“More often than not us engineers, technology people, we can’t seem to think beyond one thing which is one thing, which is go, go, go, build, build, build and lack that customer focus,” he said. “I think what I bring to the table is the understanding of it’s not just about a land grab…It’s a total end-to-end experience we have to bring to our customers.”

While construction pace is important, "when you are out there tearing [up] somebody’s yard, you have to look at it from their perspective…when you are inside their home you have to think about it from that individual’s perspective,” he added.

That said, IQ Fiber is looking to do plenty of building. The company is striving to run XGS-PON fiber to around 60,000 locations in the Jacksonville, Florida, area by the end of 2023. It recently announced Atlantic Beach and San Marco as its first two markets.

Because its projects are entirely greenfield builds, Abbasi said IQ Fiber has more flexibility than players with brownfield networks to choose the best off-the-shelf products and tap into cloud technology to build a simplified network.   

Everything from the field to the back office will be interconnected, enabling not only smoother provisioning, but also easier troubleshooting and customer service, he said. It does face a few challenges though, namely the supply chain issues that are plaguing the entire industry and relationship building with municipal officials in the areas its looking to build.

But Abbasi brings plenty of expertise to the table to tackle these hurdles. He most recently served as VP of Engineering and Construction for Hargray Fiber, which was acquired by Cable One in May of last year.

Prior to that he spent seven years as Head of Operations and Sales for Byers Engineering Company’s West Region, overseeing wireless site development, wireline engineering and plant engineering. Projects there included some for AT&T and Google, among others. He also held positions as Director of Project Management and Sales Account Manager at Ericsson from 2008 to 2011, and spent five years in various roles including VP of Network Planning and Development at FiberTower Network Services Corp.