Rural Broadband Providers Get the Job Done When It Matters Most

Arlington, Va. (September 13, 2017)

Mother Nature sure has given us a piece of her mind over the last few weeks. Between hurricanes Harvey and Irma and wildfires in the West, much cleanup and rebuilding must be done in affected states and territories. When facing natural disasters, certainly the safety and well-being of those affected comes to mind first, but the need and desire to get businesses back up and running isn’t far behind. Communication among loved ones and businesses, near and far, needs to be available throughout the duration of a natural disaster, or, if it goes down, restored as quickly as possible.

NTCA works hard to be a resource for member companies and their employees during difficult times, checking in with companies affected by natural disasters and activating our disaster relief clearinghouse, where NTCA members in need of supplies or help can submit requests for needed resources, and where members can contribute information about available supplies.

 The recent hurricanes and wildfires, though destructive and damaging, also gave rural telcos a chance to shine.

In Texas, YK Communications had 100% network connectivity during Hurricane Harvey. Its customers relied on up-to-the-second emergency information and notices, and the YK Communications network delivered. Because the telco’s underground cables aren't affected by wind, rain, or sagging wear and tear, YK Communications customers can rely on the fastest speeds no matter what the weather’s like.

In Florida, ITS Communications reported that its network remained stable during the storm thanks to the telco’s underground network and to its technical team working 24/7. As long as ITS customers had electric power, they had ITS internet and phone services.

In California, Sierra Tel assisted in setting up the Railroad Fire Base Camp at the Ahwahnee Regional Park. In addition to grading access roads and clearing an area for facilities, they trenched and buried fiber optic cable to provide telephone and internet service to the base camp.

In Iowa, Preston Telephone Company donated and shipped six pallets of new pedestals to BTEL Communications, a company in a flood affected area of Texas, to aid in the recovery.

Both YK Communications and ITS Communications heard from customers who were grateful for the reliable connection throughout the storm. And rural telcos across the country have been communicating to make sure those affected have what they need.

NTCA is proud of YK Communications and ITS, as well as the countless other member companies that stepped up to provide help, including crews and trucks, to their peers in the aftermath of these natural disasters. The preparation and dedication these actions exhibit are exemplary examples of the rural commitment small rural providers have to their communities.


 

Information on assisting affected areas will be added as it becomes available:

Btel (Brazoria Telephone Company); Brazoria, Texas
Btel Hurricaine Harvey Relief Fund

Hurricane Harvey has dealt a devastating blow to the Texas Gulf Coast and to the Btel service area. Major flooding is being seen by many of our customers and many hundreds if not thousands are experiencing evacuation and/or massive loss of homes and possessions.  The magnitude of this disaster may not be truly understood for several days as flood waters continue to rise. Btel is and always has been a supporter of our community and we desire to do all we can to aid those in need.  To that end, we have established a fundraiser to benefit those affected by the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey: the Btel Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund.

Colorado Valley Telephone Cooperative; La Grange, Texas
We are requesting the checks be made out to: CVTC Employee Charity Fund and mailed to CVTC Employee Charity Fund, Attn: Finance Department, P.O. Box 130, La Grange, TX 78945.  We have also set up a PayPal account for those who prefer paying by PayPal: cvtcharveyrelief@coloradovalley.com

On behalf of Colorado Valley Telephone Cooperative and the employees, we are very appreciative of all the words of encouragement, prayers and support you have extended while we try to recover after Hurricane Harvey.  We had three Colorado Valley employees who lost their homes and all their possessions from the devastating flood waters.  Our hearts go out to them as they try to process what has happened and begin to start over.  We also had Colorado Valley employees whose extended family members were impacted by this horrendous storm and we are wanting to extend a helping hand to them as well.  Here at Colorado Valley Telephone, we have an Employee Charity Committee that consists of five employees who are focused on helping our families as well as the families within our community get the help they need.  We have set up an account to collect monetary donations.  The committee will meet, review the needs and make the decision where the funds will be distributed. Once again, on behalf of Colorado Valley Telephone Cooperative and all of our employees, we greatly appreciate your kindness, generosity, and prayers as our community begins to recover after Hurricane Harvey.