Leading Rural Telecommunications Associations Agree to Unify

NTCA and OPASTCO logos

For Immediate Release

Wendy Mann, 703-351-2087, wmann@ntca.org
Martha Silver, 202-659-0828, mks@opastco.org

Member vote passes and enables two trade associations
to combine resources and policy efforts

Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (February 6, 2013)—The National Telecommunications Cooperative Association (NTCA) and the Organization for the Promotion and Advancement of Small Telecommunications Companies (OPASTCO) today announced that the associations will unify. This joining of two well-known entities increases the policy strength for the rural telecommunications industry and expands the business opportunities for growth and development for rural telecom companies. As of March 1, the new organization will be known as NTCA, The Rural Broadband Association.

"It is encouraging to see the rural telecom industry unify their organizations and policy initiatives," stated Robert M. McDowell, commissioner at the Federal Communications Commission. "This enables the industry to lead with one voice and focus their efforts. I look forward to working with the new organization."

"Rural telecom companies have dedicated themselves to rural communities and consumers for many years," stated NTCA Chief Executive Officer Shirley Bloomfield. "As telecommunications has changed, so have these small, independent companies. The unification of our organizations is another step in the evolution. We are excited for all the new possibilities within the industry as a united force. All rural telecom companies and the communities they serve will benefit from the policy strength we gain as a unified industry."

"The future of the rural telecom industry depends on its ability to rally resources and work together to find new revenue opportunities," stated OPASTCO President John Rose. "Unification of our industry is the first step to ensuring the long-term prosperity of rural broadband networks and the communities they serve."

Following many months of discussion and negotiation, NTCA and OPASTCO conducted member votes for unification at the Rural Telecom Industry Meeting & EXPO in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. The two organizations serve rural telecommunications companies nationwide. They are both dedicated to advancing telecommunications services in rural communities to ensure all consumers have access to the services and connections needed to participate in our global economy.



The National Telecommunications Cooperative Association is the premier association representing more than 580 locally owned and controlled telecommunications cooperatives and commercial companies throughout rural and small-town America. NTCA provides its members with legislative, regulatory and industry representation; meetings; publications and educational programs; and an array of employee benefit programs. Visit us at www.ntca.org.

OPASTCO represents more than 372 small, independently owned, local telecommunications companies, serving primarily rural areas of the United States and Canada. OPASTCO membership includes both commercial companies and cooperatives, which range in size from fewer than 100 to 100,000 access lines and collectively serve more than 3.5 million customers. OPASTCO represents rural telecommunications interests before federal regulatory bodies and provides educational programs and publications. The association also has an affiliate non-profit, the Foundation for Rural Education and Development. Visit the OPASTCO Web site at www.opastco.org.