NTCA Fall Conference Kicks Off in Massachusetts

Boston, Mass. (September 21, 2015)The 2015 Fall Conference in Boston got underway Monday, as attendees took part in education sessions, committee meetings and tours of local sites.

More than 1,500 NTCA members registered at the Sheraton Boston hotel for a full day of activities, including a continental breakfast and tours of attractions like Harpoon Brewery, a city trolley and duck boat tour and the historic site of the Boston Tea Party. The meeting's first full day also featured a number education sessions and NTCA committee meetings. During concurrent sessions, participants heard about the ongoing net neutrality debate, creating a model smart home as well as a status update on the IP transition and other telecom policy and revenue issues.

The opening general session got underway with a performance by the Sea Shanty Singers and a welcome from NTCA Board President Jim Dauby. Chief Executive Officer Shirley Bloomfield then delivered her opening remarks that discussed the ongoing universal service reform debate and highlighted the many achievements rural providers have made in the deployment of advanced broadband networks. She also introduced FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler who also discussed universal service reform and outlined his plan for achieving universal access by the end of 2015. He said the broadband access is critical to economic success for rural consumers and business owners. NTCA released a media statement from Bloomfield in response to the Chairman’s remarks. 

Bloomfield also announced the 2015 Smart Rural Community Showcase Award winners. Twelve rural communities in Minnesota, Texas, Iowa, Indiana, Wisconsin, Illinois, North Dakota and Kansas were selected for their efforts to make rural hometowns vibrant places in which to live and do business. 

Conference attendees then heard from Chris Nelson, chairman of the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission, regarding rural utilities can collaborate and partner to provide advanced services for their customers and further develop their communities. Keynote speaker Jim Knight, author and organizational culture speaker, concluded the general session with a discussion on ways organizational culture affects business outcomes. 

The afternoon was filled with educational sessions for meeting participants. Concurrent sessions included everything from cybersecurity as a revenue source and marketing video services to lessons learned by Smart Rural Community recipients and fiduciary responsibilities for directors. 

The day wrapped up with the more than 800 NTCA members made their way to Fenway Park for the Foundation for Rural Service (FRS) fundraising event “Fenway Fun with FRS.” Attendees watched the action as the Red Sox took on the Tampa Bay Rays. 

The conference will pick up Tuesday morning with a fun run/walk, led by NTCA staff, more education sessions and a #ruraliscool reception that will feature presentations by Smart Rural Community Showcase Award winners.

Photos are available in the photo gallery.
Watch the general session speakers videos.