NTCA's Fall Conference Kicks Off

September 25, 2006, Arlington, Va. - More than 1500 telco industry representatives from throughout the country descended on Philadelphia this week for NTCA`s 2006 Fall Conference. With an agenda packed full of educational and networking opportunities for telco industry professionals, the conference has something for everyone.

The theme of this year`s conference is, "Building Knowledge, Gaining the Competitive Edge," and NTCA members have enjoyed numerous educational seminars, informative general session speakers and a number of other chances to trade tips, success stories - and a few laughs - with their peers.

Photo: Clyde Hayes, Steelville Telephone Exchange (MO)Attendees began arriving for the conferencPhoto: Jean Ann Fox, Pulaski-White Rural Telephone (IN)e on Saturday and Sunday, and business began even before the weekend was through. Two members were presented with certifi- cates of completion of the Director Core Curriculum (DCC). Jean Ann Fox, a director from Pulaski-White Rural Telephone (Star City, Ind.) and Clyde Hayes of Steelville Telephone Exchange (Steelville, Mo.) were presented the certificates at the Association Services Committee meeting on Sunday.

Photo: NTCA CEO Michael E. Brunner with attendeeSunday evening`s Welcome Reception gave attendees the chance to visit with friends and colleagues and to Photo: Jazz Quartetmake new con- nections. NTCA CEO Michael E. Brunner greeted attendees at the "unofficial" kick off to the conference featured a performance by a jazz quartet.

NTCA President Tom Rowland (North Central Telephone Cooperative, Lafayette, Tenn.) officially kicked off the conference Photo: NTCA President Tom Rowlandduring Monday morning`s opening general session, where attendees were treated to glimpse of an old Philadelphia folk tradition - the Mummer`s Parade. A string band that has entertained parade-goers for Photo: Mummersyears brought a little of the tradition to NTCA`s members, and had many an attendee humming the tunes and clapping to the beat!

The opening session featured a presen- tation by Greg Goldman, CEO of Wireless Philadelphia, who discussed the city`s endeavor to turn Philadelphia into thePhoto: speaker at conference nation`s largest WiFi hotspot. Goldman explained the evolution of the project, from a free demo in a local park in 2004, to the steps toward the project`s ultimate goal of a 135 square mile citywide wireless deployment. The group`s intention is to transform neighborhoods and strengthen and enhance the economy by expanding and improving wireless broadband Internet access. 

Next up, George Wyatt, Regional VP of Mid-State Consultants, presented a humorous but informative exploration of the industry`s migration to Internet-Photo: George Wyattprotocol (IP) and shared his assumptions and predictions on just how much bandwith will be enough to support this new delivery method. Wyatt said video has become the "killer app," as evidenced by many telcos` move to upgrade their networks to offer the service. He predicts that people will begin to incorporate many aspects of video into their daily lives, and it will move beyond just an entertainment service. Wyatt also pointed out that telcos should begin moving away from reliance on DSL alone, because DSL cannot deliver the video that is fast becoming essential to consumers.

Photo: NTCA Vice President Shirley BloomfieldA highlight of the general session was a short video segment on the "Sweet Sounds of Universal Service," a video short created by NTCA to demonstrate the importance of the universal service fund to consumers. NTCA`s Shirley Bloomfield share the "sneak peek" of the humorous piece, noting the video`s official launch will be following soon.

Photo: Concurrent session in progressConcurrent sessions on various topics filled the remainder of Monday`s agenda. The educational sessionsPhoto: Concurrent session, a packed house! ranged from technical topics such as IPv6 and IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) to marketing-themes sessions including selling customers the services of the future.

Attendees had chance to do some ocean "exploring" on Monday night, with the Foundation for Rural Service`s (FRS) fund raising event held at the Adventure Aquarium. Nearly 500 people enjoyed the event, and the proceeds from the event go toward supporting the foundation`s college scholarship program.

Tuesday`s agenda includes several more educational sessions, as Contact Caitlin Colligan at 703-351-2086well as the annual banquet with entertainment by country star Lorrie Morgan