Mike Romano and I headed down to New Orleans at the start of the week for the annual meeting of all the state association telecom executives. What a valuable platform this meeting is for state leaders to compare notes and approaches with the many issues and topics that are impacting our industry.
A huge shoutout to Colleen Jamison with James Caplinger, CHTD in Kansas, who took on the role this year of chairing the group, NCSTA, and did a marvelous job putting together a meeting with a ton of content. I was really pleased to be invited to share some thoughts at the start of the meeting on business opportunities for the RLEC industry and how we get past thinking of just USF revenues as new business models are explored. Who would have thought 12 months ago that we would even have the bandwidth to talk about anything other than public policy? But policy issues still took center stage and Mike did a masterful job walking our statewide peers through topics at the federal level and the possible implications.
A read out on the FCC’s Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee, a review of copyright legal actions, tax bill implications, mergers and acquisitions in the evolving telecom industry, trends in state high-cost funds, next steps for the FCC on call completion, a recap of successful state broadband programs and many other topics were explored and made for jam-packed days. Oh yeah, and the Chairman of the FCC dropped in to say hello to folks at the opening reception while he was in town on other business.
Not only was it helpful and insightful to spend some time with our statewide industry leaders, it was great to get a NOLA preview before NTCA’s RTIME meeting there in February 2019. The city is hopping and has made an above and beyond recovery from Hurricane Katrina and other storms and just a stroll down Royal Street, with street musicians playing and fabulous gumbo brewing, reminded me of how excited I am to get our membership back to this national landmark city for a great experience!
And maybe a few sets of beads and some pralines made their way back into my suitcase as well!