First, my profound thanks to my NTCA Texas members for warning me about the shift in traffic from last week’s NTCA meeting to the sheer and total chaos and volume that is SXSW! Yes, your advance warnings were helpful and ensured that I kept my feet moving to make my way in and out of Austin in time to catch flights…whew!
Second – wow! What an amazing experience my 24 hours on the ground actually was. SXSW is such an interesting and exciting mix of critical topics, innovative thinking, great speakers and relevant tracks that I did find myself kind of sorry that I couldn’t take more advantage of my seriously cool speaker pass that got me in to every venue…or would have.
Third, I had so much fun sharing a panel with FCC Commissioner Carr (joking with him, of course, that he and I should meet up again in Austin next week because we kind of have a schedule going….), Dr. Nicol Turner-Lee from Brookings who is a tornado in her own right and our esteemed panel leader, Chris Wood from LGBT Tech, whose work on inclusion, particularly focused on rural areas of our country, I have long appreciated. Our panel on bridging the digital divide was a platform to share thoughts, ideas, challenges and possible solutions as we look to connect all Americans to broadband access…and why that is so important. I figured we would have a sleeper session…after all, we were on the “government track” and the demographics of this crowd were a lot younger and edgier than I am (well, I guess that doesn’t say a lot but…) however, the room was pretty packed and the conversation and questions flowed. From why 5G is not the rural solution (from my perspective) to spectrum policy to the importance of USF to the need for streamlining and common-sense regulation to smaller spectrum blocks to incentives for creative partnerships….all were up for discussion.
It was a great opportunity to share a perspective with a diverse group and I look forward to finding venues for keeping the conversation moving along.
Now back on a flight so that I can land at midnight, change out my bag and head out to TEF on Sunday morning on a 7 a.m. flight (where I clearly was not focused on the pending daylight saving time change on Saturday night). But I love TEF and am sure that I will caffeinate enough to keep moving!