X

Want to take a Self-Guided tour?




April 16, 2022

Airband: A Microsoft Initiative Aimed To Close The Digital Divide

The following transcript has been edited for length and readability. Listen to the entire discussion here on The Broadband Bunch. The Broadband Bunch is sponsored by ETI Software.

Pete Pizzutillo:

Welcome to The Broadband Bunch. A podcast about broadband and how it impacts us all. Join us to learn about the state of the industry and the latest innovations and trends. Connect with the thought leaders, pioneers, and policymakers, helping to shape your future through broadband. This episode of the broadband bunch is sponsored by ETI Software, your zero-touch automation experts. By Calix, simplify, excite, grow. By DxTel, creators of the Harper broadband marketing library. By ITK Solutions Group, the process first, technology second, and by Utopia Fiber building a more connected nation.

Pete Pizzutillo:

Hello and welcome again to another episode of the broadband bunch. I’m your host, Pete Pizzutillo. I am joined today by a very special guest from Microsoft. She is the general manager of the Microsoft Airband Initiative, Miss Vickie Robinson. Vickie, thank you for joining us today.

Vickie Robinson:

Thanks so much for the opportunity, Pete.

Pete Pizzutillo:

Yeah, I’m excited to dig into all that you guys have going on. It’s a pretty exciting program and helps a lot of people across the country, but before we do that, it would be helpful for our listeners just to understand how you ended up here. What was your journey? It’s a pretty nontraditional journey for most of the guests that we have on the show. So just a little context about how you became the general manager for the Airband Initiative.

Vickie Robinson:

Sure, Pete. Well, I describe myself as a reformed lawyer. I’m not practicing law with Microsoft currently, but there is some continuity to what I’m doing now, and what I’ve done previously in my journey to be where I am now. So in law school, I went to law school to originally become a criminal defense attorney. I found out fairly early on that I didn’t have the constitution for that work. And was more drawn to communications law, I thought that it was something that was really cool because it was always evolving, you’re not necessarily at a disadvantage by being new to the field because it was always changing.

Vickie Robinson:

And ultimately I decided to go into communications law and private practice. And as a part of my practice representing competitors or disruptors, one of the issues that we really stuck out to me was this whole issue of universal service regulation and what it was designed to do. And essentially here in the United States, by statute, the country has this big ambitious goal to ensure that everyone has access to telecommunications and information services. And so from private practice, that led me to many, many years at the Federal Communications Commission, where I worked on policies and enforcement work designed to close a digital divide in an equitable manner.

Vickie Robinson:

And following my time at the FCC and at the Universal Service Administrative Company, which administers the federal Universal Service Fund programs, I came to Microsoft through a connection that I actually made with a colleague as a summer associate who was also in the same practice and had a somewhat similar journey. And they told me about the work that they were doing at Microsoft and this space. And they made me an offer that was too good to refuse.

Airband Initiative’s Origin And Its Evolution

Pete Pizzutillo:

No, that’s great. And before we get too deep into it, it would be great to back up and explain what drew you to the Microsoft Airband Initiative, but also what the original mission was and how you’ve seen it kind of evolve over time.

Vickie Robinson:

Sure. Happy to do that. Maybe I’ll start with the first half of your question is what drew me to this work. It was really the opportunity to approach this problem set, which gosh, I’ve been working on this issue for more than two decades now, but to approach this problem set from the private sector. And I was intrigued that a tech company like Microsoft would be interested in this issue. But it actually makes a lot of sense, if you think about the origins and purposes of what’s now called the Airband Initiative.

Vickie Robinson:

So Microsoft, it’s always been focused on work to democratize access, whatever that looks like. Whereas early on in the company’s history is about getting a laptop on every desk. It’s certainly evolved now to ensure that everyone has access to the Cloud and all the things are enabled as a result of being connected or being able to leverage the power of the Cloud. To be able to get access to the Cloud, however, you have to be connected and online. And so that is very much core to our business.

Vickie Robinson:

And what I really love about the Airband Initiative is that in seeking to ensure that everyone is able to get online, it’s this very nice intersection between our company business purpose and our corporate social responsibility interest in programs. And so essentially that’s how Airband was born. It was originally focused on war outside of the United States to extend affordable broadband access in unserved and underserved communities across the world. And ultimately really followed the 2016 election and all the things that came up during that election, including the strong sense that rural America was being left behind.

Vickie Robinson:

And as a result of that, and really thinking about that issue as a company, we decided that we needed to do something in our own backyard, as it were to address this problem, that seemed to be elusive. And that’s how the initiative was born, with the focus at the time, really on rural unserved areas within the United States. And subsequently, we reaffirmed our commitment to do this work outside the United States, again, all in service of what we could do to extend broadband access for all.

Is Airband Challenging The Status Quo By Favouring The Underserved?

Pete Pizzutillo:

No, it’s extremely helpful. You said some interesting things there about representing the disruptors, right. And we know that in our industry that there have been some monopolistic tendencies, right? And giving people a fair chance, but also the underdogs, right? I mean, your mission is directed to the underserved and that’s pretty empathetic. And I feel like it’s early recognition of that need as opposed to now, right? COVID has really amplified that or magnified that I should say, what is it in your background and the makeup that attracts you to sticking out for the underdogs and challenging the status quo?

Vickie Robinson:

I consider myself to be an underdog, Pete. When I think about my own background, growing up in the Midwest as a single parent, and the challenges that I faced and really recognize very early on that if I were just given the opportunity to have some level of access, to get into a game as it were, I could show up and show that I too could do what I put my mind to do. And so it’s very much part of my DNA. I believe myself to be an underdog.

Vickie Robinson:

And also it just so happened, throughout my professional career, I’ve been afforded the opportunity to also work with disruptors, underdogs, people who are left behind, who may not necessarily have it as easy as others, and Airband is really an extension of something that’s of really my DNA and how I’m wired. We work with our partner… Our typical partner profiles are disruptors. We work very closely with a lot of wireless, and internet service providers, both here and outside the United States. And we believe in the power of doing things a bit differently, especially when you’re doing the same thing and you’re not getting a different result.

Pete Pizzutillo:

Right? We’re all aware of the funding opportunities that are flooding this market anywhere from RUS to RDOF, to the infrastructure bill. One of the concerns though is, will that money end up in the same player’s hands? So, to your point about the established monopolistic tier-one folks. What is Microsoft doing, and what’s your view and how we as an industry can prevent repaving the same old roads, and make sure that the money gets to where it’s going to be most effective?

Vickie Robinson:

Sure. Maybe I should just clarify. We approach this, not necessarily focused on what others are doing, whether there’s a monopoly or what the designs of others in this space are, but we’re more focused on how we can show up in a way that’s meaningful. So when you think about it, and you touched on this bit Pete, the reality of COVID is where things are. One thing that has been validated, I think as a result of the pandemic is that the usual suspects are not necessarily what’s required to really tackle this problem in a meaningful way.

Vickie Robinson:

You have to be willing to do things a bit differently. And so for us, we approach the problem saying, first we need to be clear-eyed about where the gaps exist and that’s something maybe we’ll get into as part of our further discussion here, but also being laser-focused that this funding that’s been created through this unique opportunity, which I think COVID clearly paved the way forward, that it’s distributed in a way where policymakers, unintentionally, I’m going to assume it’s unintentionally, don’t do work or enact policies that actually widen the gap. And so, we are actively engaging industry, policymakers, et cetera, to push for thoughtful, deliberate actions to seize this opportunity.

The Airband’s [Microsoft] Way Of Maintaining Digital Equity.

Pete Pizzutillo:

Yeah. And one of the things I think you all early on the initiative was focused on the TV white spaces, kind of a vehicle for affordable broadband, but I believe you guys are expanding beyond that. And I think that one of the conversations that are evolved is not getting overly focused on saying fiber or a specific technology in that every community, every geographic area has its own specific unique needs, and it requires some creativity and multiple solutions. So I think that’s important for us to continue as an industry as well, to be thinking about, there’s not one, it’s not a hammer, right? There are a lot of ways to solve this problem to at least close that gap.

Vickie Robinson:

Absolutely. If I think about the work that we’ve been doing for what is now approaching five years through the Airband Initiative, perhaps the biggest learning is that there is no one size or one tool that fits all. We’re much better served to attack this problem in a way that I think is much more aligned with Microsoft’s approach, which is really empowering our partners to have access to a variety of tools, to solve the problems as they present themselves on the ground.

Vickie Robinson:

And what’s necessary to realize this concept of digital equity in a place like my hometown of Milwaukee, Wisconsin will look very different perhaps than challenges, and work you may need to do this, work that may be required to realize digital equity in a place like Mascoutah Illinois. What’s been a huge learning for us, is that there is no one size fits all. It’s better to have programs that can land programs and tools, that can land in a way that best meets the interest and needs and the topographies, population densities, et cetera of the communities that you’re targeting.

Pete Pizzutillo:

Yeah. And it’s interesting because it’s a double-edged sword that I see is that, there’s a lot of newcomers into the space, both from the private community, but also folks that are asked within the communities to help solve this problem. And there’s a huge learning curve for folks that have never stepped into this field, right. And so, on one side of having options to solve the unique problems, that requires education and that requires money and learning and training, right?

Pete Pizzutillo:

And so as having as many hands that we can contribute to breaking things down, helping people understand how to get started, right? Or how to get access to funding, or what your options are. I think the better off we’ll all be in terms of just our overall outcome of trying to close this gap. Does that make sense?

Vickie Robinson:

Absolutely. And I think it’s good. I think that the problem is so vast Pete, that we probably can’t overemphasize the need for really driving understanding around the problem set and how to get after it. I know just yesterday or earlier this week, the administration has released a playbook as it were to help people navigate the various programs that are available across the government to address rural broadband. We also have developed a playbook. There are a million playbooks that are out there. And I think, ultimately that’s not necessarily a bad thing, it’s really about how you level the playing field and make this manageable because this is a huge undertaking.

Vickie Robinson:

To go from work that’s been and very much focused in DC where I hang out, and with the federal government, to the kind of shift the paradigm, which is what’s already happening and which will only continue to happen to states and localities, which are probably better suited to understand the specific way that digital divide problems present themselves in those communities. But it’s one thing to have an understanding or begin to have an understanding of the needs on the ground, it can be quite another thing to actually take those resources and ensure that you’re using them in a way that optimizes for solving the problem as comprehensively as possible.

Pete Pizzutillo:

Yeah. A hundred percent. And that’s part of what we work at The Broadband Bunch, is trying to curate all of the things that are out there, because we actually don’t need to develop more playbooks. Right? I want to talk about digital equity. It’s a term that we use a lot, and you’ve kind of touched on a little bit that beyond affordable access there are other components like affordable devices and skillsets. Can you just explain a little bit further what your thoughts are on that?

Vickie Robinson:

Absolutely. Here again, I think of a place where the pandemic… I’m always looking for lemonade, Pete, so you have to bear with me, but looking for lemonade out of lemons and learning is just my approach to life. One thing that the pandemic has validated very clearly, at least from my perspective is that having access to broadband in itself is simply not enough. You can’t assume that if you build it, people will come. And I know that on a very personal level because I experienced it in my family and I experienced it in my family, where my family lives in Milwaukee Wisconsin.

Vickie Robinson:

There are at least one or more providers, of not just broadband services, but affordable broadband, but being able to one, take advantage of those offerings is not a given. And even if you have it, I think about my brother in particular and my journey with him, it’s quite instructive here that just because he has broadband doesn’t mean that he’s using it in a meaningful way. He literally, with him and my nephew, struggle. He used his mobile device and the Wi-Fi in his apartment to get online. And he struggled to help my nephew who had a device through school to really just participate in class because he wasn’t familiar with the device and he didn’t have the skills that were necessary to really even function online in a meaningful way beyond what he was akin to, which is using his cell phone, his smartphone for everything.

Vickie Robinson:

So this is very personal for me. And I think there’s a ton of not just research, but lived experiences that validate this notion of access is one piece, but if you’re talking about adoption, you really need to think about the other things that have to be made available to make that real. And I think that includes affordable devices as well as the skills that are necessary to not only just use the device but optimize the use of connectivity.

Pete Pizzutillo:

Yeah. It’s interesting. When COVID kicked in, and we happened to be in New Jersey where the school district here started giving the kids Chromebooks prior to COVID, but then now the kids had them at home and that was their primary tether to an educational experience. But what happens at the end of the school year, right? You turn in your Chromebook and then they come back in the fall and everybody’s a little rusty, I’m not saying school year-round, but we recognize the need for access and devices. Right? But only when it fits within the budgeted timeframe, right? What happens after three months and that, and that extended to getting into all the other folks that have the inability to participate in the digital economy, either looking for jobs or finding how health telehealth services, that type of stuff, everything.

How Would The Airband Initiative Adapt To The Future And The Challenges It Bring?

Pete Pizzutillo:

So it’s a great point. I don’t know how to solve that problem, but I guess that’s not the conversation I have here, but it’s a good point to figure out how we start thinking about adoption and skilling people up in a meaningful way. One of the things that you’re driving toward, you have a vision in your head, right? So you’re clearly in a passion project here, but at some point in time, you’re going to move to your next step. What would you like to achieve by the time you’re done your time with the Airband program?

Vickie Robinson:

I think about that a lot, not to say that I want to be done, but I do approach work… My mind works with what is going kind of working backward. And I think success actually for me, is addressing the hard problem that you called out and teasing out this notion of digital equity. It is hard. It’s hard and that’s why it’s not done, right? While there are millions of people who don’t have access to broadband, there are millions more that do, but they are still not connecting. And so for me, success would be at least a full throw to embrace across our country, within the industry and policymakers and lawmakers and consumers, et cetera, recognizing that if we are to really be in a place where we need to be as a country, you have to have programming that includes all of these components.

Vickie Robinson:

That affordable, not just access, but affordable, reliable, high-quality access, affordable high-quality devices, and really relevant digital skills. And I do think from my perspective, again, having been in this space for a fairly long period of time, my entire professional career, I do believe it’s possible. It’s not going to be something that happens overnight, Pete. But when I think about some of the promises of things that are provided now, for example, under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. For the very first time, you have federal funding for something like digital skills. That’s never happened before.

Vickie Robinson:

That’s never happened before, and I just have to pause on that. You had with the pandemic and certainly kind of carried forward from the pandemic. You actually have federal funding for devices. And so I do believe that becoming the new standard for me, and maybe it’s influenced a little bit by what we do, but just really not us only, right? It’s not something that the private sector, any one company can solve and frame up as what needs to happen to go forward. But to me, if that really sticks in a meaningful way through in part work that we’re driving and holding up our work and through our partners as proof points, that to me will be a success.

Pete Pizzutillo:

Yeah. I love that. And we talk about broadband as another utility, right? And so if you look at the other utilities, like water, electricity, and gas, I mean, look what happened in the last few months with the whole Ukrainian, Russian war, right? What are people complaining about? Gas prices, right?

Vickie Robinson:

Yep.

Pete Pizzutillo:

And so it’s okay if don’t have access to the internet and it’s extremely expensive, but if gas goes up 15 cents, the whole world breaks down, right? And so what is it for me, when we start thinking about broadband, like electricity, where it’s reliable, it’s safe, it’s affordable, it’s essential. And we have the access to it inside our house. I don’t have to make my own light to turn on a light. So when we get to that, I do feel like there’s been a lot of acceleration. It’s funny. We just can’t learn from the electrification of 150 years ago, whatever that timeframe was. We all get it. Now, if you said, you need to roll your own electricity to your house. Everybody would laugh at you. Right? But we have people-

Vickie Robinson:

Yes, they would.

Pete Pizzutillo:

You know people are pulling fiber through their own house still. It’s crazy. Right? So I agree that I think once we get into the fabric of kind of a legislative and political mindset, I think then it just kind of creates the mechanism for those things to evolve there. Maybe not as fast as they should, because there’s a lot of capitalism still, as there should be, but all right. So, that vision, I think is a good one for each of us. What are the risks though that you see that kind of between here and getting to that full understanding and the fabric level of our society as broadband should be? What do you see things that stand in the way of that?

Vickie Robinson:

Honestly, I’m starting to see some glimmers of risk to that vision even now. It’s very easy to have the large headlines that say, Hey, X state has just awarded a hundred million in funding for fiber to the home for, I’m going to exaggerate here for 70,000 homes. Now there’s so much in that. So I want to pause and say what I chose those numbers, I mean it’s an exaggeration, but you are seeing a little bit of that. You are seeing large awards that are going out, but if you actually look under the awards and you really dig into it, what you can see is that there’s not a whole lot of impact that will result, from those awards. Right? And so it’s easy to grab that headline and say, we got this funding out and it’s getting broadband access, but what about really getting to the problem. Are you actually just widening the gap through the work you’re doing?

Vickie Robinson:

So that’s a huge risk from my perspective, or over-indexing on infrastructure, as opposed to adoption, you have to be able to do both. We have to be able to do both. And that requires more thought, more nuances. It requires I think policymakers and people on the ground to really take a more nuanced approach. It’s thoughtful, but at the same time, very much focused on making sure that everyone at least has a baseline of robust, affordable broadband and the ability to take advantage of it right now. So if you have these headlines now, you talk about the things that are happening with Russia and Ukraine and supply chain challenges.

Vickie Robinson:

We were already having supply chain challenges, right, as a result of the pandemic. And if you’re talking about only one, a technology solution is the only way to go. You can get these awards out, but people will be made waiting years, to get access to anything. And so that’s what I think is the thing that concerns me most about making this vision a reality. Not chasing the sexy headlines, but doing the hard work, having nuanced discussions and thoughtful considerations to ensure that we’re not blowing this opportunity that we have as a country, but we’re making the hard choices doing that cost-benefit analysis to get to where we need to be.

Pete Pizzutillo:

Yeah. That resonates so well with me because I do feel like the municipalities that we speak to that are now waiting for this funding or getting some of the funding, the expectations from… There are constituents and neighbors is just unrealistic. I mean, especially given the things that you pointed out in terms of the supply chain, just delaying things. Even on a good day, it takes years to get these things done. Right? And so now we have a battle for talent. We have a lack of resources. We have people that are new that are going to make mistakes.

Pete Pizzutillo:

There are a lot of people rushing, so there’s overbuilding. So, we talked about this, I think in our earlier call about just adult supervision for the industry, right? Who’s going to stand up and say, all right, you can’t have 18 different electrical wires go into one house, it doesn’t make sense. Right? We figured that out a while ago. Right? But we still haven’t figured that out here. So that’s the thing that I have concern about is that we all in the industry believe this is a generational opportunity, but it could be a generational mistake too if we’re not careful.

Vickie Robinson:

Yeah. That keeps me up at night. If I’m honest, Pete.

Pete Pizzutillo:

I’m going to hold you responsible for it though. Vickie, so.

Vickie Robinson:

Okay.

Pete Pizzutillo:

No pressure.

Vickie Robinson:

No pressure.

Is Airband Microsoft’s Social or a Commercial Commitment?

Pete Pizzutillo:

Right. I wanted to talk about… So there are some other folks in the technology companies in this space, right? Starlink gets a lot of press around what he’s doing, especially sending stuff over to Ukraine then on the heels of it, there’s one on the Amazon’s side. So the cynical side of me may say, Hey, okay, Microsoft’s in it for Microsoft’s benefit. I’m sure you get that question often is, Elon Musk has an ego and a revenue play. He wants as many people on the internet as possible. Same with Jeff Bezos, more people that are connected or buying stuff from Amazon, what would you say is different from Microsoft’s approach to Microsoft’s commitment versus those commercial commitments?

Vickie Robinson:

Sure. So I think I started off when we talked a little bit about the origin story. Look, I don’t dispute that tech companies like Microsoft benefit from more people being online. That’s just the fact act, but for us, it’s that, but it’s also that we believe that as a company we’ve actually contributed to the rapid level of digitization, and as a result of that, we bear some responsibility for making sure that everyone has a fair shot at being able to realize that. So I would say compared to, well, one, the work that Amazon is doing, and look I think the problem is so huge. There’s space for everyone to kind of show up. So let me just start off by saying that, unlike what Amazon is doing, Microsoft is not itself saying that we want to become a provider of internet services.

Vickie Robinson:

That’s not what we do. Instead, we are saying, we recognize that we have a role to play, but that we want to empower others who are actually, this is kind of their bread and butter and what they do and working in these communities to do it. So, that I would say is a point of distinction between us. And there’s not a one-to-one thing. Many people get online, but that doesn’t mean that they get to Azure or Cloud, or that they even use Bing, our search engine. Right? I don’t want to even say it, but people use the term, Google to be synonymous with searching, for example. Right? So it’s not that direct. It’s not like, and this is not disparaging work of Facebook or Amazon or others, but Facebook is also, you didn’t mention them, but they’re also in this space.

Vickie Robinson:

And when they do this work, people show that, particularly if they are not… People want to be connected. Right? But there is an immediate one-to-one you get connectivity, you go on Facebook, you go on WhatsApp, right. It’s not that direct with us. It’s more indirect. And it really, our programming and our work really sit within more of our corporate social responsibility and social impact programs. And so I would call that out as a difference. I would also say that I think that our approach is a bit more holistic, again, not just focused on access, but really this more holistic vision of digital equity. And I think we were one of the first people to start talking about and reframing a problem set. And I don’t want to be too generous. We had to learn that too.

Vickie Robinson:

When we approached this, we were very much focused on rural areas and getting broadband and access to unserved rural areas. It took us actually doing the work and thinking about things like, well, what about urban centers? What about when you actually get broadband access in these rural communities? What else is necessary to ensure that people can actually use it? And so I count ourselves fortunate to be able to have really all within one, all those pillars around digital equity, through our partners, providing affordable broadband access, being able to provide access to devices. That is something that we can bring to the table, but it’s not just Microsoft devices.

Vickie Robinson:

It’s third-party devices that are new. It’s refurbished devices, it’s kind of whatever is necessary, but also we have an amazing digital skills programming that’s focused on not just basic digital literacy, Pete, and I’m not trying to do an infomercial. I’m just kind of stating the facts, but cyber security, skills for jobs, and upskill. And we have all these things that we’re able to bring together as one holistic approach to this problem. And so that’s our program and I believe that it is differentiated from other technology players who are in this space.

Pete Pizzutillo:

Yeah, no, I can see that. And I think to solve a problem is vast as what we’re dealing with, we require all hands on deck, right? So regardless of the motivation behind it, right? Just like the railroad barons, a lot of people made money with the railroads, but that’s how stuff gets around these days.

Vickie Robinson:

Yeah. That’s right.

Pete Pizzutillo:

So I wanted to kind of just lay that on the table that there, whatever the motivation, the angle is, it’s a vast problem and we all need to accelerate whatever we can to get it solved. So back in law school, you wanted to be a criminal defense attorney and saw a different route. So knowing what you know now, having the benefit of what you’ve seen if you could go back and talk to yourself in law school, what advice do you think you would share with yourself?

Vickie Robinson:

Oh my gosh. That’s a great question. I would say, Vickie, it’s important to pace yourself. People joke about my team and say “Vickie wants everything yesterday.” Well, I do. But I would say you have to recognize that big problem, systemic problems require our systemic change, and that doesn’t happen overnight. So be resolute, be open to expanding your thinking beyond what you think is the right approach or the right way to tackle problems, to learn and pivot, and be to work with others, but know that systemic change does not happen overnight. It requires consistent and steady, getting after the problem.

Pete Pizzutillo:

Wow. That’s great. Big problems require big solutions. Right? So, patience, I use the same one myself, but… Well, good, I hope you listen to yourself moving forward then. Right? So we’ve been speaking with Vickie Robinson. She’s the general manager of Microsoft Airband Initiative walked us through her history through law school, the Universal Services Program, FCC, and now leading Microsoft’s global Airband Initiative. Vickie, it’s been a pleasure. I’m a big fan of the work that you guys are doing, would love to get you back in the future to get an update on any program efforts, or outcomes that you have and just check-in and see how you’re doing. So thank you for joining us.

Vickie Robinson:

Thank you, Pete. And I would love to take you up on that offer. One thing that I didn’t mention is that as part of this work that we’re doing, we’ve made some public commitments that are going to come to do in the second half of this year. And so I would love to be able to come back and have you and others hold us accountable to say, what have in fact done over the past five years and what’s next for your work?

Pete Pizzutillo:

Yeah. I would love to do that. And how can our listeners find a little bit more about the Microsoft Airband Initiative?

Vickie Robinson:

Well, you can do a Bing search, and literally, if you just type in Microsoft Airband, you’ll be able to get a lot of things. A lot of things will come up, including our website. I post regularly on LinkedIn about the great work that our partners are doing, and how we’re approaching a problem set. And I’m also on Twitter as well.

Pete Pizzutillo:

That’s great. Yeah, so we’ll post the LinkedIn, we’ll post your Twitter handle so we can get you some fans. So I appreciate it. Vickie thanks for joining us and have a great day.

Vickie Robinson:

Thanks so much, Pete. This has been great.