Given that this is another celebration of Infrastructure and the need to make some serious investments as a nation – it feels only fitting that I am on “the road” and am seeing my share of planes, airports, highways, bridges and of course, staying connecting via broadband connectivity. As far as I’m concerned, every week could be Infrastructure Week!
I started off early Monday morning heading to beautiful Omaha, Nebraska which continues to carry the wear and tear of a lot of spring rain and flooding. While it all appears from afar on the news, looking out the side of the plane at utility poles under water was another experience. Nebraska was stop one for the amazing annual Consortia Consulting’s Connections Conference – the only meeting in the rural broadband industry devoted solely to women leaders and covers topics key in the industry, leadership training and the all critical networking. I try to make this a conference a priority on my schedule when I can and was delighted to do a “Behind the Scenes” chat with the firm’s President, Dan Caldwell. From toothbrush preferences to what’s next for NTCA and the industry, our wide-ranging (and somewhat personal) discussion was a lot of fun and broke the ice for catching up with nearly 100 women in the rural broadband space. And I’m not going to lie, it was a nice break from talking about possible USF caps or next step for performance testing…that will come tomorrow at the TOC meeting in Fargo!
A visit from Omaha’s mayor, Jean Stothert, the 51st mayor of this college baseball city and first woman leader, gave attendees insights into her management style and passion for development of her community.
Now I am dragging my bag through the continually renovated MSP airport and catching my flight to Fargo. I was a little overly confident that the many moving pieces of this trip would work – but so far so good! Looking forward to catching up with the rural broadband providers and their vendor community on what they see for the road ahead. If the story of the week stays consistent, NTCA members are busy building fiber plant and extending their broadband reach to their rural consumers. They are having their own version of an Infrastructure Year!