October 9, 2006 -- The Fiber-to-the-Home Council (FTTH Council) has announced the recipients of its annual FTTH awards for 2006. For the past four years, the council says it has given the awards "to celebrate the outstanding contributions of individuals in the industry who have advanced the FTTH industry."
The announcements were made at the closing lunch of the 2006 FTTH Conference and Expo in Las Vegas, which took place from October 2 - 5.
The State of Texas received the "Chairman's Award," given at the discretion of the chairman of the FTTH Council board of directors. The award singles out an individual or company that has shown tremendous effort to promote, educate, or accelerate FTTH technology. This year, the council recognized Texas for being the first state to pass statewide video franchise reform. According to the council, as a result of this pioneering effort, states such as California and North Carolina have passed similar reform bills which have resulted in an increase in FTTH deployment. Accepting the award on behalf of Texas was Miguel Lecuona, of Grande Communications, a Texas overbuilder cited for moving rapidly to deploy fiber in new areas of the state.
Thomas Cohen, of the Washington D.C. legal firm, Kelley Drye & Warren LLP, received the "Star Award." The award recognizes a person, community, or company that "has gone above and beyond what is expected" in the advancement of FTTH. According to the FTTH Council, as a Washington insider with many years of experience in the telecommunications industry as a legal advisor and advocate, Cohen has been most successful in effecting telecom reform at various levels of government. He is the former legal counsel to the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation and has been an advisor to companies wishing to influence government public policy actions in the communications sector. The FTTH Council recognized Cohen for his influential advocacy in testimony before the FCC and the House of Representatives which resulted in the successful passing of the Telecom Reform Bill (Barton Bill). Cohen is currently working in numerous state legislatures on behalf of the FTTH Council for further telecommunications reform.
Michael Kunigonis, Jr., of Corning Cable Systems Inc., received the "Photon Award," recognizing a FTTH Council member who, through their volunteer contribution, has demonstrated a high level of dedication to the organization and contribution to the industry. Kunigonis, with the title of Product Line Manager-Access, is responsible for Corning Cable Systems FTTH program management. As a member of the 2006 FTTH Council planning committee, Kunigonis was instrumental in securing the council's influential keynotes and conference speakers and spearheaded the FTTH Council's Fiber-Powered Pavilion, which debuted at the Las Vegas event. As chair of the council's international committee, Kunigonis worked closely with the sister councils of Asia Pacific and Europe to develop the FTTH Council's recently issued definitions and standards of FTTH terms for global use. Kunigonis was cited for his display of "extraordinary dedication, time, and commitment in his volunteer efforts" to advance the council and its mission.