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Category: Collaborations & Innovations

One Last Catch-Up With Rural Utility Leaders

One Last Catch-Up With Rural Utility Leaders

With only a limited number of days left on the calendar for the year, my colleagues in the rural utility industry cleared time off of our schedules to find a common meeting space for lunch so we could compare notes as we wind down with 2017 and head into the New Year. Jim Matheson, head of NRECA (the electric coop association) and Sheldon Peterson, head of CFC/RTFC (a major lender to the rural utilities) and I met up in Tyson’s…

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Smart Rural Communities Can Lead The Way For Rural America

Smart Rural Communities Can Lead The Way For Rural America

  The Smart Rural Community (SRC) Collaboration Challenge, run by NTCA,  is an annual opportunity for rural broadband providers to obtain grants to deploy broadband-enabled solutions within their community. It encourages collaboration among community leaders to provide the best technologies. Allocated through fund-matching obligations in the program, it requires local communications providers to recruit the participation of other local leaders.  It’s an exciting, relatively new part of our SRC program and not only tells the story of innovation and collaboration…

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The Importance of Getting Out of DC

The Importance of Getting Out of DC

Talk about just what I needed!  I have been in talks with DirectLink President Paul Hauer out in Oregon for a few months now trying to coordinate calendars to see what I can do about getting out to his part of the world to see what he and his innovative team has been up to.  Given that Paul is a member of our Future’s Group as well as someone that I regularly use to bounce ideas and programming thoughts around…

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Telemedicine for Veterans Comes to Jackson County – Thanks to PRTC

Telemedicine for Veterans Comes to Jackson County – Thanks to PRTC

It’s been months in discussions and deliberations but a few weeks ago, PRTC – a fabulous broadband/telecom cooperative in Kentucky, cut the ribbon and opened their doors to their Virtual Living Room project as a telemedicine center for local veterans right in their community library with the gig service provided by PRTC and a Smart Rural Community Grant from NTCA and our SRC partners. I know that I have shared about this project before because: 1) I am so inspired…

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Preaching Partnering, Not Poaching

Preaching Partnering, Not Poaching

Heinz ketchup art?  Then I must be in Pittsburgh.  Indeed, I did a quick day trip to the ongoing NRECA (national electric cooperative association) meeting regional meeting in Pittsburgh where I was invited to be on a panel “Broadband: We’re All In This Together” along with CFC, NRTC, CoBank and NRECA.  No surprise that I was the voice of partnership and collaboration on the panel  and reminded folks in attendance (and the room was packed) that “if rural broadband were…

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Smart Rural Community Field Trip to Maine With Senator and Commissioner

Smart Rural Community Field Trip to Maine With Senator and Commissioner

You can tell that you’re in Maine when most of the traffic on the highway alongside you are caravans of logging trucks!  After a journey across the country on Tuesday night, I knew that my last stop was Portland, Maine because I was the only person boarding the place in the Detroit Metro airport who did not have hiking boots and a backpack on.  I was a tad jealous! Josh Seidemann, our Smart Rural Community (SRC) guru,  and I met up…

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Got to Love Sioux Falls!

Got to Love Sioux Falls!

I am traveling back from the Regional Conference in Sioux Falls, South Dakota this week.  The location is ideal given the key leadership role that Senator Thune, local boy gone to Washington, has played in communications policy and his continued active engagement in meeting the challenge of rural broadband deployment.  One of the things I love about this region is that the turn-out is as strong as it is for our “more tropical” locations for these meetings in the Southeast….

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FirstNet Update and Call for Action

FirstNet Update and Call for Action

The First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) announced March 30, 2017, that it had reached an agreement with AT&T to build, operate, and maintain the nationwide public safety broadband network (NPSBN). That announcement was huge and finally unleashed the opportunity for carriers to act to ensure that their assets and interests were at the table.  AT&T is off and running. The project is moving quickly; as AT&T begins deploying the network this fall, it is important to ensure rural telecom providers seek…

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“Make the Dirt Talk”

“Make the Dirt Talk”

What a treat it was on Friday to reconnect with Billy Tiller, former board member for Five Area Telephone Cooperative in Muleshoe, Texas, who served on the board when he was right out of school for 12 years – during some really informative times in this industry. Billy then went on to not only run a large ranch in Texas, but he also started AgPro Exchange, a company that uses data to manage agriculture interests in the 21st Century.  With…

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Former Chairman Wheeler Resurfaces

Former Chairman Wheeler Resurfaces

I spent much of Monday afternoon at the headquarters for NRECA, the rural electric cooperative’s trade association, breaking bread over lunch with their board of directors and then having the opportunity to address their board on what NTCA member broadband providers are up to and why there is some possible synergy to partnerships between NTCA and NRECA members to better serve the unserved and underserved areas in the electric coop territories that have been deserted by some of the largest…

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