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Category: USDA

So Much To Be Grateful For…

So Much To Be Grateful For…

Holiday season means wonderful chaos, family, food, doggies, leftovers and walks through the autumn leaves…and we had that in spades this weekend as Leah and her friend Brett drove from Chicago with Sawyer (another golden pup) to spend the week with Don and I. Given that Brett has never been to Washington DC, the two of them spent a great deal of time seeing every museum and every site special to our nation’s capital….I would get tired just hearing their…

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USDA’s New Broadband Program Bringing Service to Rural America

USDA’s New Broadband Program Bringing Service to Rural America

NTCA was very excited to support USDA’s new ReConnect grant, grant and loan program when it was voted into existence by Congress and implemented by the team at RUS. However, I’m not going to lie, when the first grants out of the box were distributed to an electric utility and municipality, I became a tad concerned that the RLECs were going to be cut out of the process given that they have been doing the job already of building networks…

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Opioids, Rural America and Broadband

Opioids, Rural America and Broadband

It’s hard to pick up a news source these days without seeing a reference to the epidemic of drug overdose deaths here in our country.  In 2017, more than 72,000 Americans died from a drug overdose.  That number translates to 197 people a day.  That counts as a national tragedy and epidemic for sure particularly since an overwhelming majority of these overdose deaths involve an opioid.  Rural America can be particularly hard hit given the lack of some support networks…

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Big Day For Moving Rural Telecommunications Forward

Big Day For Moving Rural Telecommunications Forward

Thankfully today is Friday, April 12th and not April 1st.  There are so many good things happening that I simply want to ensure that there are no April Fool’s shenanigans going on! We started the day with a call initiated by the White House hosting FCC Chairman Pai who shared that later in the day he would be heading to the White House for a briefing on 5G as well as a new rural broadband funding initiative being rolled out….

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Getting Ready to Hit the Hill!

Getting Ready to Hit the Hill!

Next week is NTCA’s annual pilgrimage up to Capitol Hill and a prime opportunity to share their stories of how they are continuing their broadband builds in the rural parts of our country.  I know some folks are bummed that Congress will be on recess that week but honestly, it’s a wonderful opportunity to spend even more time with the key congressional staffers from the offices of these elected officials and to dig a little bit deeper into the issues…

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CTC Shares Partnership Philosophy

CTC Shares Partnership Philosophy

NRECA  – the national association for rural electric cooperatives –  recently invited Kristi Westbrock, CEO and general manager of Consolidated Telephone Co. (CTC) in Brainerd, MN, to tell her story of innovation and creative thinking.  CTC has been engaged in broadband partnerships with Minnesota electric cooperatives for a decade and it has been a good experience for CTC, their employees and the people the serve.  If you ask Kristi, she would love to do it again and again. Kristi noted…

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Starting the New Year with a Full Tank

Starting the New Year with a Full Tank

2018 felt crazy-busy. Maybe everything in our lives is accelerated thanks to the zero downtime lifestyle many of us have adopted with 24/7 access to information as well as one another. In the spirit of starting the new year on the right note, Don and I went to a farmhouse inn in Virginia near lovely Afton Mountain for a few days. It was actually a retreat that I signed us up for months ago as one of Don’s birthday presents…

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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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Sharing Thoughts with RUS

Sharing Thoughts with RUS

RUS and USDA are hard at work gathering feedback on their recently released NOI on the new rural broadband pilot program with comments due at the start of next week. The process has been fast and furious and I hope that USDA is just as fast and furious when it comes to releasing funds out the door to rural broadband providers who utilize it so they can continue to build in areas where deployment is needed. It is going to…

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Stories from the Sho-Me States

Stories from the Sho-Me States

It seems that every time I come back to the Springfield/Branson area, there are more things hopping in the area. This time, I noticed that the airport has continued to turn itself from a sleepy commuter hub to a sleek, modern facility with more electric outlets than any I have seen in my recent travels. Never underestimate the power (no pun intended) or importance of airport outlets; I’ve been known to hang out in the O’Hare Airport bathrooms simply because…

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