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Category: Rural Development

Talking Broadband With Land O’Lakes

Talking Broadband With Land O’Lakes

Rural broadband access has been a widely debated topic in Washington DC over the last couple of years as policymakers – local and national – have woken up to the fact that there are still a number of citizens in one of the most developed nations in the world that do not have connectivity where they live or work or raise their families. What was gratifying today was having a discussion with a Fortune 500 CEO, Beth Ford, leader of…

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NTCA Members Focus on Vision in Denver

NTCA Members Focus on Vision in Denver

Back in the Denver airport and getting ready to head back home after four action-packed days here at our Fall Conference. It was hard to argue with how we opened this meeting – with USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue heading to the podium to share with NTCA members how valuable their networks and connectivity are to the future of rural America. From economic development to precision agriculture, from telemedicine to education – the services offered by community-based broadband providers make all…

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The Foundation for Rural Service is Indeed About Service

The Foundation for Rural Service is Indeed About Service

So many NTCA members really go above and beyond and make sacrifices for the young people in rural communities, knowing that this next generation represents the future of their areas. But Ron Laudner of OmniTel Communications, and former NTCA board member, is willing to go bald – all in the name of supporting Foundation for Rural Service (FRS) scholarships. Three shears (get it?) for Ron and OmniTel for their creative campaign to raise at least $25,000 for FRS scholarships by…

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Secretary Perdue Heads to Denver to Talk to NTCA!

Secretary Perdue Heads to Denver to Talk to NTCA!

I was so excited to get the phone call from USDA Secretary Perdue’s team to share that indeed he was going to make time on his busy schedule to join us in Denver at the end of this month to share his thoughts about the role broadband plays in the life of farmers, ranchers, ag producers and rural America in general. It will be a treat to have a Cabinet Secretary with us at our Fall Conference. USDA has been…

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Big Sky Country – A lot of Land, Not A lot of People

Big Sky Country – A lot of Land, Not A lot of People

I was delighted to be invited by Geoff Feiss, head of the Montana Telecommunications Association, to come out to join his meeting this past week in beautiful Big Sky Country to share some thoughts and perspective on what is taking place in Washington DC and in the telecom industry generally. I seldom turn down a trip to such a beautiful part of our country…and am always stunned by the vast swaths of land with few inhabitants while I am making…

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Rural Partners Gather

Rural Partners Gather

I’ve always been a little envious of the annual gathering that has been held between NRECA (the electric coops), CFC/RTFC, NRTC, and NISC as they compared notes on the status of their respective industries – electric power, lending and technology solutions – and was delighted to be “invited to the party” this year.Vern Dosch, CEO of NISC kicked off our day with a reminder on how key each of our industry segments are to the future growth and vitality of…

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Steamy Savannah Sets the Stage for Strategy Skills for NTCA Attendees

Steamy Savannah Sets the Stage for Strategy Skills for NTCA Attendees

Heading back from hot and humid but lovely and hospitable Savannah, Georgia as we wrap up our inaugural Summer Symposiums for the year. Nearly 400 NTCA rural broadband providers gathered for a few days of focusing on what matters, strategic thinking, good governance policies, the latest in advocacy topics for the industry, cybersecurity and a host of other topics relevant to ensuring that the time in a company’s boardroom is time well spent. The opportunity to hit on these critical…

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I Like Puppies, Chocolate…and Partnerships!

I Like Puppies, Chocolate…and Partnerships!

The dictionary defines partnership as “an association of two or more people as partners”.  The legal notation is that a partnership is an arrangement where parties, know as partners, agree to cooperate to advance their mutual interests.  The partners in a partnership may be individuals, businesses, interest-based organizations, schools, governments etc.”  What makes it special in my book?  When it’s an NTCA community broadband provider partnering with another NTCA member, community entity or even another local utility to find ways…

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Hurray for Congress Moving a Farm Bill

Hurray for Congress Moving a Farm Bill

Every five years, Congress renews its priorities to agriculture and rural America by passing a farm bill with all the rural development and agriculture programs under the purview of USDA. The existing legislation funded programs through 2018 and the clock was literally ticking as the 115th Congress winds down here in Washington, D.C. A collective sigh went out this afternoon as an agreement was reached and the Senate passed the 2018 Farm Bill Conference report by a vote of 87-13…

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Making a Difference Close to Home

Making a Difference Close to Home

I loved seeing the smile on Doug Boone, CEO of Premier Communications in Iowa, as he sat between the Governor of Iowa and the CEO of The Boeing Company at an airport opening a few weeks ago. That smile is well earned because as a local community leader, Doug put a fair amount of effort into working statewide to have a small regional airport open in their part of northwest Iowa. It’s evident that this economic development event was significant…

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