Okay, about those predictions I made last year… Every year we like to make a few guesses about where we are going, but before we do it we have to check back to see how we did the last time. Well, maybe we don’t have to in today’s culture, but we ought to. So how did I do last year?
- The pandemic wanes by the time Memorial Day arrives. Oops! Nope, didn’t happen. The only thing that has waned is our attention span for taking precautions, which is part of the reason Omicron is raging so quickly. But in-person meetings and interactions have partially restarted.
- Infrastructure spending will outpace overall economic growth. Check! Ok, a bit of a softball. Economic growth itself hasn’t been bad, however infrastructure spending continued at high levels in 2020 on all fronts from the core to the last mile, from the home to the data center to the enterprise.
- Working from home will remain with us. Check! Also an easy one. Going into the office has returned for many of course, but a heck of a lot of people still are doing it whether part of the time or more. And the rest of businesses still have it as a backup plan, how could it be otherwise now?
- The great IX decentralization that has been going on will continue. Check Yeah yeah, I seem to have gone with a few softballs last year. More IXs in more places, led by both the usual suspects and some new ones around the world.
- M&A will pick up, both in the US and in Europe. Kinda… I’d say the financial buyers were plenty active, but that the strategic buyers less so. Basically, if you just change ownership and supply resources then sure, but if you have to integrate or move people around then maybe not.
- Crown Castle will sell off its fiber division, or at least the non-backhaul part of it. Oops! That obviously didn’t happen. They’ve been pretty quiet though.
- FirstLight, Everstream, Lumos, and Bluebird will each make at least one small M&A purchase in 2021. Kinda… These guys were pretty quiet on the M&A front. But Bluebird did buy a data center in Iowa just days after last year’s predictions were issued.
- I-Squared will either sell off some pieces of GTT’s mostly-European infrastructure biz, or split them up. Oops! Not yet anyway. They relaunched the entire business as Exa Infrastructure instead, although they could still choose to sell off non-core assets I suppose.
Overall, to use a baseball analogy I managed to whiff at the only pitch that really mattered this year, hit the softballs but without any authority, and foul off the M&A pitches. I’ll try to have a better at at bat for 2022 later this week.
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