We’ve kicked off our 2016 Regional Conference season here in Williamsburg, Va., with well over 300 NTCA members from across the Southeast participating in an excellent program that our team—with content lead by Dennis McGarry—put together. Preconferences on board legal issues and the tech behind the traffic were well attended, as was the special session that Les Greer and his team had pulled together for participants in our R&S program.
Today was filled with some really informative presentations on the continued evolution for RLECs, with a number of great insights into where the communications industry might be heading and how to stay ahead of the curve. I particularly liked hearing about the Troika of Data, the Internet of Things and analytics, and how telcos can monetize and serve their customers better utilizing all three. FirstNet shared a timely update, given that we are in the middle of the national RFP for selecting a prime contractor for the national public safety network. INDATEL followed that up with a presentation on why the scope and scale of state fiber networks, owned by this sector of the industry and supported by NTCA, possibly have a large role to play in the formation of this network—thanks to the requirement that rural assets be involved in any build. A lot of synergy behind the different presentations. Seminars on product diversification, shared insights on how NTCA gig-certified entities are using their certification status to their benefit, leadership, strategy and video in an all app world are just a few of the other topics on the table. This nearly two-day meeting feels like it has a week’s worth of programming.
It’s also been a treat having NTCA Board President Doug Boone, CEO of Premier Communications, begin his five regional road show with me. Doug, the first solo commercial company president of our association, has jumped in with two feet, and is eager and ready to mix and mingle with folks he doesn’t know across the country. We’ll see how Doug’s energy level is doing by the end of our regional adventures in August!
There is also something really poignant about being in Williamsburg during these tumultuous times. I always find history can be a guiding light, and the role that Williamsburg played in the infancy of our country was also a time filled with unrest and uncertainty. Even when Williamsburg was restored, the motto behind the project was with hopes “that the future might learn from the past.” Williamsburg was also a leading light as one of the first planned communities in the United Sates. The first canal, the first psychiatric hospital (just an interesting tidbit) and streets laid out around a mall and a grid. Our forefathers understood the importance of infrastructure and planning. So fitting as we continue to work together to ensure that the next generation of leadership and policymakers understand the same and put broadband at the top of the list.