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The 2024 Awards Judges

Our independent panel of judges for this year's Awards Programme brings together energy, experience, and above all a passion for excellence and deep knowledge of our sector. Collectively they bring a huge amount of expertise and insight to the challenging task of assessing nominations and selecting worthy winners.

Ian Adkins

Ian is a Principal at specialist telecoms advisory firm Analysys Mason, and a leading expert in broadband and utility telecoms with over 22 years’ experience in telecoms consulting. Ian specialises in issues related to public policy and market competition, and his experience ranges from strategy development through to procurement and commercial contract negotiations for public-sector, enterprise and operator clients wishing to develop innovative service solutions.
Ian has extensive experience in developing broadband policies, building network cost models, appraising commercial models and designing delivery strategies. He has managed over 40 broadband projects for public authorities that have resulted in successful broadband roll-out and the subsequent achievement of socioeconomic benefits for citizens and businesses through high levels of take-up. He authored the study to lower barriers to telecoms infrastructure deployment published by the Broadband Stakeholder Group that led to the formation of the UK government’s ‘Barrier Busting Taskforce’.
Ian is currently managing Analysys Mason’s role as technical adviser to the National Broadband Plan in the Republic of Ireland and advising operators on their bids for the UK’s Gigabit Programme.
Named as one of Connected Britain’s Top 100 Influencers, Ian is a Chartered Engineer and Member of the Institute of Engineering and Technology.

Melissa Cogavin

Melissa is Managing Editor at the SCTE (Society for Broadband Professionals) and has a long journalistic background in the film industry, where she was involved in international theatrical distribution at Disney and later at Paramount Pictures as Director of Film Operations over a ten year period.
She has achieved global recognition as the driving force behind the rise of Event Cinema; where her expansive strategic vision and superb commercial acumen enabled her to build a successful organisation and change the cinema industry.
In 2020 she took a new direction as Managing Editor of Broadband Journal for the SCTE, Society for Broadband Professionals where she is responsible for writing and editing the quarterly glossy and online magazine Broadband Journal, as well as producing webinars, podcasts and events for the Society. She also handles marketing and communications, membership management and advertising/sponsorship for SCTE.

Brian Dolby

As Founder and President of Proactive International PR Ltd, Brian works with telco operators, vendors and membership organisations around the world. Prior to becoming a consultant in 2001, he held senior Public Relations and marketing roles with British Telecom, GPT and Marconi Communications.
He is an Industry Fellow of Nottingham Trent University and a member of the Industry Advisory Board of the University of Lincoln. He is also a passionate Nottingham Forest supporter!

Barry Forde

With a background in telecoms stretching back to his says as a radio officer in the Merchant Navy, Barry began deploying campus, regional and national networks across the UK while at Lancaster University, and went on to be a founder of Broadband for the Rural North Ltd (B4RN), a community benefit society deploying a full fibre FTTH network to hard to reach rural communities. This is now delivering 1GbE and 10Gbs symmetric broadband to over 12,000 properties in the deeply rural last few percent of the country, with extensions well beyond the original plan to deploy across North Lancashire, South Cumbria and parts of North Yorkshire.
Awarded an MBE for services to rural broadband in 2015. Barry retired as B4RN Chief Executive at the end of 2020. Holds a Professorial Fellowship in the Department of Computing, Lancaster University and is a Fellow of the RSA.

Katie Lester

Katie began her telecoms career with INCA, working and supporting in numerous areas across the organisation, including policy & regulation and events before taking up the role of Programme Manager with the Digital Connectivity Forum. The Digital Connectivity Forum is the UK Government’s primary advisory group on the provision of seamless digital connectivity. In her day-to-day activity, Katie works across multiple areas, particularly in leading the DCF’s Climate and Sustainability activity.