Now that we are a month away from convention season and the major political parties have their presumptive nominees, NTCA has weighed in with the Republican National Committee and the National Democratic Committee through correspondence with their respective chairman to share the important task that NTCA members hold in investing in our country’s future by deploying state-of-the-art communications technology for the benefit of every American. With technology, consumer demands and global competition constantly evolving, we encouraged the Republican and Democratic parties to continue to hold up the nation’s commitment to universal service and the policies that have assisted the deployment of broadband networks in the hardest to serve portions of our nation.
It’s an easy task to remind these political parties that broadband is vital to enabling all Americans to participate in a vibrant national economy. Broadband also promotes civic engagement and provides critical access to essential services. The timing was perfect to remind folks of the results of the recently released Hudson Institute report, “The Economic Impact of Rural Broadband,” to share that rural investments touch all segments of the U.S. economy. In fact, the biggest benefit actually goes to urban America when a rural communications provider invests in their networks.
It was also a timely way to remind both parties about our Smart Rural Community and Gig initiatives as a way to share the exciting developments that are taking place in rural America thanks to the RLEC industry. Our hope is that we’ll have the opportunity to work with the committees as they develop their policy planks for the conventions ahead. I am now dating myself as sending off these letters last week reminded me of one of my first convention tasks well over 25 years ago when I flew out to meet with the folks developing the party platforms for both parties and then testified on the importance of retaining the REA (now RUS) programs and the importance of rural telephone service. That was followed by a trip later in my career to conventions in Atlanta, Denver and Minneapolis. Cleveland and Philly this summer? Not for me. Conventions are a younger person’s game with a lot of excitement, trading to get floor passes and most activities not starting until well into the evening hour. I think I’ll simply watch this year from the comfort of my couch.