The developers of the planned Digital Crossroads of America Data Center on Hammond's lakefront are also embarking on the first inventory of Northwest Indiana's public wireless and fiber infrastructure in more than five years.
Indiana NAP, which was formed by Indianapolis attorney Tom Dakich and New York-based data center developer Peter Feldman, hired the Germany-based engineering services firm Seim & Partner to tally and map out all the cell and radio towers, fiber optic cables and small cell coverage in the Region.
Some areas in Northwest Indiana currently have as many as 11 types of digital services, while others have a single provider, or no coverage at all. Cell and radio towers, fiber optic cables and small cell coverage are divided among communities, and the state has its own system, as do some larger companies, according to Digital Crossroads.
“This inefficiency happens in most areas of the country,” Digital Crossroads CEO Peter Feldman said. “Tom Dakich and I are committed to creating the inventory of coverages and assets as a first step to making a comprehensive plan for NWI fiber and tower management as a serious part of the creation of jobs and opportunities in NWI.”
The hope is that identifying technological assets can help attract investment, broaden coverage and improve data connectivity, such as with autonomous vehicles that require seamless GPS to operate.
“Every community’s economic future requires reliable and uniform mobile and broadband data coverage," Lake County Economic Alliance President and CEO Karen Lauerman said. "When we started an inventory about five years ago, the state of Indiana’s systems were just being developed and the larger carriers viewed their networks as proprietary. It was very difficult to get people to share information. The whole world has changed so much and Digital Crossroads has the contacts and the resources to create a meaningful inventory of available assets.”
Digital Crossroads, which is building a massive data center at the former State Line Generating Facility on Lake Michigan on the Chicago border, plans are making available PDF maps of Northwest Indiana's existing 1G, 3.5G, and antenna structures. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to request the maps.
Dakich said that Siem & Partner Managing Director Kai Seim and his team have begun the project.
More companies would consider locating here if we could show them a demonstrable plan for expanding our broadband and cellular data systems," Dakich said. "The first step in this process would be to inventory where we’re currently at and then review what our Region needs.”