When Washington DC Meets Rural South Dakota

When Washington DC Meets Rural South Dakota

NTCA’s Foundation for Rural Service does so very much for the rural broadband industry and even more for the communities that these companies serve—but one of my favorite FRS activities is their annual trek out of D.C. with a gaggle of Capitol Hill staffers and into the real world (i.e. out of D.C.!) to see how rural networks are built and to help them better understand the challenges of broadband deployment where the land is vast and the people far…

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Strengthening Your DEFENSE

Strengthening Your DEFENSE

National security is a hot topic here in D.C. and I recently asked someone who works in that space what their biggest concern was, and it wasn’t a nuclear attack from North Korea or implications from the fall out of the Iran nuclear deal—it was cybersecurity—without a moment of hesitation. At NTCA, we’ve really been focused on the cyber threat and the tools needed to help NTCA members manage and protect their networks and I am really proud of the…

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Farewell to an FCC Era

Farewell to an FCC Era

Washington, D.C. can actually be a small town and telecom/broadband circles can make the city feel even smaller. So, while I was very sorry to see Amy Bender, legal advisor to FCC Commissioner Michael O’Rielly, leave her post at the FCC this week, I know that our paths will cross again in her next “gig”. After Amy’s very distinguished 14-year career with the agency and after all of her hard work on topics as critical as the Universal Service Fund,…

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Everyone Has Their John McCain Story

Everyone Has Their John McCain Story

…and I have mine as well. It was (literally) decades ago when everyone in DC’s telecommunications circles was working on crafting what became the Telecommunications Act of 1996. Sen. McCain was a member of the prestigious Senate Commerce Committee and a key player on the majority team as the legislation was crafted over a series of years. Per his usual operation, he forged his own path through the negotiations and discussions including proposing a phone voucher program–a creative idea but…

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America the Beautiful

America the Beautiful

Katharine Lee Bates, born in 1859, was an American writer, poet and professor at Wellesley College in Massachusetts. Her claim to fame was not so much what she taught in the classroom, but what she was able to achieve far from a blackboard. In her many travels, Bates spent a summer in 1893 teaching a course at Colorado College in Colorado Springs when she and a group of other teachers decided to go on a trip to the top of…

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Lending for the Future

Lending for the Future

CoBank annually holds a meeting to gather communications executives across the country to hear from an amazing array of speakers who share their insights on current and historical issues and perspectives.  Finding time to attend a meeting that I don’t need to attend or is not an NTCA meeting feels like an extravagance but given all that is going on in the industry and seeking to get a beat on what our friends in the lending community are hearing, it…

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FCC Takes Positive Action on Call Completion Law Implementation

FCC Takes Positive Action on Call Completion Law Implementation

Trying to aggressively deal with the rural call completion plague has been a top priority for NTCA so there was some energy in our halls today as the FCC took some positive steps to implement the NTCA-Backed Rural Call Completion Law. In a positive development for rural consumers and businesses awaiting relief for rural call completion and quality problems, the FCC today released an order implementing the Improving Rural Call Quality and Reliability Act of 2017 signed into law earlier…

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Spreading the Word

Spreading the Word

In an Op-Ed in the Topeka Capital-Journal, we, NTCA, joined with the USTelecom Association to highlight a report we recently released on the economics of deploying broadband in rural areas. Just sharing some of the thoughts that my counterpart Jonathan Spalter and I had put pen to paper on with you here since it certainly beats me paraphrasing it from the floor of the Charlotte airport…. “Like electricity, broadband is essential to every American. Yet U.S. broadband infrastructure has been…

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I Call Uncle…

I Call Uncle…

NTCA’s headquarter offices are in Arlington, Va., a thriving DC suburb. We’ve been in this location for a number of years and it has been a good fit for us – relatively reasonable rent, access to a mall across the street, close to a metro stop and with enough parking for us to fulfill our commitment to our team to do our best to keep commutes as reasonable (tough though when it comes to commuting in DC – between metro…

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Rural Broadband Providers Gather in Fargo…

Rural Broadband Providers Gather in Fargo…

Congressman Kevin Cramer (R-ND) joined our group for some send-off remarks prior to the close of our meeting this afternoon. Rep. Cramer has championed numerous letters to the FCC advocating for USF High-Cost support. He has also been a voice of sanity on the current frenzy in DC to allow overbuilding of broadband facilities supported by federal funds–with additional federal funds–(this strikes me as inefficient and a serious waste of government resources!) and even gave a shout-out to NTCA members for…

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