In 2013, NTCA launched our Smart Rural Community initiative to recognize NTCA members who have gone above and beyond in their support of community innovation. The work that rural broadband providers did in building their networks was key in fueling growth and services for those they serve and our Smart Rural Communities were a way to showcase how rural broadband networks made an entire community “smart”! It has also been a wonderful way to share the story with policymakers across the country. Who doesn’t want to celebrate a smart community?
For over six years now, we have focused on Smart Rural Community Showcase Awards, awarding 69 companies with the honor of being named Smart Rural Communities, or SRCs as they are fondly referred to by our team. We also added a grant component a few years back providing $5,000 grants to deploy broadband-enabled solutions to community challenges. Some wonderful initiatives have been funded through this program – telehealth equipment for hospice patients in Minnesota, job training access on tribal lands in Montana, a network of community Wi-Fi across several towns in Vermont and a number of other exciting applications
Now we are beyond thrilled to expand the program to provide members even more value through a branding component that will give more companies access to the Smart Rural Community brand. With this new branding component, NTCA members can become Smart Rural Community Providers through an annual license and receive a small marketing kit we will make available to help you tell your story – and your story is a powerful and important one as we continue to share the importance and value of broadband for rural communities with policymakers at the national and local level.
To make the program even more robust, we have brought our Gig Certification program under the Smart Rural Community brand through our new Gig-Capable Smart Rural Community Provider logo which is also available through an annual license program for qualified applicant
I’m so excited to see how this new branding program strengthens our Smart Rural Community program, and gives our existing and future Showcase Award winners even more to brag about. The Showcase Awards will continue to be presented at the NTCA Fall Conference, representing the true “cream of the crop” for our industry and all the Smart Rural Communities we have enabled.
In the meantime, I invite you to check out our new SRC national branding effort – Get Smart and Show It – as we all work together to help Smart Rural Communities build a brighter future for small town America. Check your email inbox or head to https://www.ntca.org/member-services/programs/smart-rural-community