Life is full of contradictions, and so is the Internet. One of those contradictions is that there are more people online than ever before – and yet unequal access to the Internet is starker than ever.

According to data gathered by Cisco Systems, the world will have 5.3 billion Internet users by 2023. The population that year is forecast to be around 8.1 billion. In the US alone, according to the FCC, there are nearly 17 million school children who lack the Internet at home. While there is a lot of work left to shrink the digital divide, there is also another undisputed truth about broadband: The more we have, the more we want.

The global average broadband speed continues to grow and will more than double from 2018 to 2023, from 45.9 Mbit/s to 110.4 Mbit/s, according to Cisco. By 2025, 34% of North American broadband homes are forecast to subscribe to speed tiers above 500 Mbit/s, according to Omdia. So those are the two extremes: Some aren’t connected at all. Some can’t get enough. All of it poses a staggering opportunity ahead for the communications executives in this space.

To help navigate what’s happening in this part of the global communications marketplace, we’ve compiled the Broadband 50 to Watch, a list of influential leaders, innovators and disrupters who are connecting the world in 2021. We’re keeping an eye on these executives and think you should, too, as they’re moving this part of the industry forward. Below is a chart documenting the list of 50 industry leaders.

Company / OrganizationFirst NameLast NameTitle
AdtranRomanKellyCTO EMEA & APAC Regions
Airtel AfricaRazvanUngureanuCTO
AirtiesNicolasFortineauChief Marketing Officer
ATX NetworksDanWhalenCEO
BroadcomGlenKramerTechnical Director
Cable OneJulieLaulisCEO
CalixMichaelWeeningPresident and COO
Casa SystemsJerryGuoPresident and CEO
ChorusKurtRodgersNetwork Strategy Manager
CienaWayneHickeySenior Advisor, Product Marketing
CommScopeTomCloonanInterim CTO
CorningCateMcNaughtEmerging Applications Market Development Manager
DG-CONNECTRobertoViolaDirector General
ETNOLiseFuhrDirector General
formerly Charter CTOJayRollsCable Executive and Industry Advisor
HarmonicAsafMatatyaouManagement, Cable Edge Business
HiLight SemiconductorChristianRookesVP of Marketing
HuaweiJeffreyZhouPresident of Access Networks
IskratelJanezOriStrategy, Innovation and Digitalization Director
Izzi TelecomIsrael MadiedoLunaInnovation and Technology Director
MTN GroupCharlesMolapisiGroup Chief Technology Officer
MTN South AfricaGioavanniChiarelliChief Technology & Information Officer
National Broadband IrelandPeterHendrickCEO
NokiaStefaanVanhastelCTO, Fixed Networks
Open FiberElisabettaRipaCEO
OrangeThierryValetteVP of Operations, Transformation, and Performance
PCCW/HKTCarlsonChuSVP Technology Strategy and Development
PlumeFahriDinerCEO and Co-founder
Poland – Office of Electronic CommunicationsAgnieszkaGladyszDirector, Department of Strategy and Analysis
Positron Access SolutionsPierreTrudeauPresident and CTO
RtBrickRichardBrandonVP of Marketing
SikluDaveSumiVP of Marketing
SK TelecomHongseokShinSenior Manager
Starlink by SpaceXGwynneShotwellPresident and COO
TelesteHannoNarjusCEO Teleste Intercept / SVP Teleste
Tibit CommunicationsEdwardBoydVP Engineering, CTO, and Co-founder
UTOPIA FiberRogerTimmermanCEO
Vecima NetworksSumitKumarCEO
ViaviStephanColangeloBusiness Development Manager – Fiber
VodafoneJohanWiberghGroup Technology Officer
ZCorumRickYuzziVice President

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